How We Began
The Cooktown Art Society was formed in 1978 by a Cooktown group interested in improving their artistic skills. In 1988 the dream of having their own art gallery was realised when a Government Grant providing one dollar for each dollar raised by this hardworking group, saw the Cooktown Art Society became incorporated as the Cooktown School of Art Society and the Elizabeth Guzsely Gallery became a reality.
The gallery is named after Elizabeth Guzsely. Elizabeth arrived in Australia in 1957 as a refugee. With a Diploma in Fine Art from Hungary she found work as a graphic artist in Sydney. When her husband got a job with the council in 1977 they moved to Cooktown. Elizabeth passed away on 18 December 1997. The gallery bears her name as a suitable recognition of her legacy.
At present the gallery has enough space to exhibit around 120 paintings and roughly 10 freestanding works.
As per our constitution the object of the society is to associate with other artists and those interested in art or the appreciation of art through lectures, field days, workshops and exhibitions. We are dedicated to the promotion of fine arts in Cooktown and surrounds. We respect diversity and aim to be inclusive so all may share in our creative journey.
Annual Art Exhibition
Our Annual Art Exhibition is our major event of the year. It coincides with Cooktown's Discovery Festival held the first week of June. In 2008 we held our 30th Annual Art Exhibition and celebrated the 20th birthday of the gallery.
Our inaugural Cooktown Arts Festival was held in 2007 and again in 2009 thanks to the hard work, dedication and support from locals, Cook Shire and Queensland Events. It was to be a biennial event but unfortunately due to lack of volunteers will not be held in 2011.
Our Cooktown High School Art Exhibition has been held twice. First in 2007 and again in 2008. We encourage young people to experience the joy and satisfaction of creating all forms of art. To achieve this we partner with the Cooktown P-12 State School in promoting putting on an Annual High School Art Exhibition in the gallery. We provide for a Youth Encouragement Award funded by Endeavour Lions in our Annual Art Exhibition and sponsor a student Art Award for the schools presentation night.
Our gallery displays and sells art works by local artists. Art works by are by local artists in a variety of medium and styles. These include oil, pastel, watercolour, acrylic, mixed media, charcoal, graphite, pen & ink and indigenous art linked to local cultural traditions. We also have more contemporary works and often original pottery, fibre, wood and ceramic pieces.
Art Workshops Animation
We are governed by The Associations Incorporation Act 1991 administered by the Office of Fair Trading. Our governing document is our constitution, which sets out our objects and the powers we have to carry these out. This is a set of rules which establish the framework for our decision-making and management. We hold monthly meeting in the gallery and all are welcome to attend.
ABN: 38635084864 Incorporated Association Number: IA14011
You will certainly be encouraged to join our fun group! The annual fee remains low at $20.00 per member. To make the most of your membership you can be involved by visiting the gallery throughout the week. Talk to other members and assist in maintaining the gallery and arranging the art works.
By attending monthly general meetings and sharing your ideas you can assist us better our gallery and art. Attending the art get together's at the gallery and sharing your art skills will help all member artists. Attending art workshops by professional artists will improve your skills. We exhibit the best of the work from the art workshops in the gallery for public enjoyment.
How Do We Work?
Through the efforts of our members we aim to advance the quality of what we offer artists and art collectors. New ideas are valued. Respect and appreciation of difference among members is vital to our success.
We try to enjoy art and have fun! We do take our art seriously but not ourselves!
We take your privacy very seriously. We will not divulge your contact details to any third party without your authorisation. See web site policy.
Where are we going?
Our vision for the future includes improvements to the gallery and additional space for artists work areas and exhibitions.
We intend to recruit new members to boost our volunteer workforce! We aim for more art workshops, plein air painting, art sessions and art events throughout the year.
We plan continued growth aimed at establishing our organisation as a well-regarded art society and gallery at a local, regional and state level.
Why Do we exist?
Because we wish to expand the opportunities for all artists in Cooktown and the surrounding area. We are about individual artists having the chance to improve their art expertise through learning, sharing, exhibiting and selling their art.
Being an artist can be frustrating with many highs and lows but it is also exciting, joyful and inspiring. When you have the chance to participate in art events and join together with other artists you can grow and develop and achieve a fuller expression of your creative self.
We try to stay open Monday to Saturday from 10.00AM to 4.00PM but as we are staffed by volunteers this can vary. We appreciate your patience if you visit and we are closed.