Jamestown’s Belalie Arts Society was formed at the initiative of its now patron Malcolm Catford OAM of Appila in 1985, initially as the Jamestown Art Prize Committee with local artists Helen Pammenter and Jill Francis and the Council CEO Paul McInerney as secretary.
The founding members’ objective was to acquire a body of community owned artwork to display in public and commercial buildings in Jamestown providing artists the opportunity to display their work and the strong farming and sport oriented community an opportunity to enjoy the diversity of the visual arts.
The society conducted the biennial acquisitive Jamestown Art Prize, initially underwritten by Local Government and later supported by commercial sponsors. The Jamestown Art Prize provided the stimulus and model for the annual Clare Rotary Club Art prize.
The Jamestown Art Prize built a loyal buyer base and regularly sold 25% to 30% of exhibited works. Artists whose works are held in the collection include our founding members Helen Pammenter and Jill Francis, along with well-known artists including Jo Caddy, Ian Davis, Margaret Tuckey, Coralie Armstrong, Harry Sherwin and Ian Roberts.
The growing collection was the impetus in the development of the Belalie Art Gallery, in the former Jamestown Corporation Building on the banks of Belalie Creek. An early and lasting initiative of Belalie Arts Society has been the floodlighting of the mature red gums along Belalie Creek a unique feature for those passing through Jamestown at night.
The energy of the Jamestown Art Prize evolved into a major biennial curated visual arts exhibition in and around the Belalie Art Gallery as a feature of the Biennial Bundaleer Forest concert Weekends presented by the Society from 1999 until the withdrawal of core Government funding in 2011.
The Belalie Arts Society aspires to deliver new events for the whole community to participate in the arts. Its inaugural Picnic in the Park was the stimulus for the Bundaleer Forest Concert Weekend. This event grew into Regional South Australia’s largest multi art form event with a strong fine music focus. Regularly featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Australian String Quartet, the Tutti Ensemble, Jazz musicians of the calibre of Andy Firth and James Morrison and internationally renowned opera Singers from Thomas Edmonds OAM and Elizabeth Campbell to Teddy Tahu-Rhodes and Simon O’Neill to Cheryl Barker and Yvonne Kenny OAM to name a few.