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The Tower Art Show

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by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane who loves exploring quirky places with my dog. Join me on my quest to find, experience, and share fun things to do and interesting places to go.
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A Creative and Visual Arts Exhibition at Marist College


Marist College at Ashgrove hosted its 3rd annual art show over 3 days this June, to showcase art pieces from professional artists and senior Marist students. Marist College is a Catholic day and boarding school for boys in Years 5-12, situated in Brisbane's inner Northern suburbs. The College is inspired by the work of St Marcellin Champagnat, and commenced operating in 1940.

As one of the school's major fundraisers, monies raised from the art show go directly into the Champagnat Trust which provides assistance to students when their circumstances make education at Marist College Ashgrove unobtainable. Since 2005, 61 boys have received a Champagnat Trust Bursary.

The Opening
The Art Show kicked off with an Opening Night Gala on Friday 14 June 2019 at 7:00pm in the White Tower Function Room featuring guest Artist, speaker, and former student Travis (Drapl) Vinson. Drapl has made the shift from being an air conditioning mechanic to full-time artist to follow his creative bliss.

Graffiti Art at Red Hill


And follow it he did and quite successfully. Some of you may have seen Drapls' colourful work on the wall of the former Red Hill Skate Arena on Musgrave Road, Red Hill while driving by or stopping at the lights. The distinctive street art, graffiti mural features a lifelike women's face which turns this once tired, plain wall into a festival of colour. Other works by Drapl also appear in Christchurch, Peregian, and Point Cartwright.

An an accomplished artist, Drapl has reflected to the Culprit Club on advice he would give to any aspiring artists. "Keep pushing your limits. Surround yourself with other artists and positive people, and paint as much as you can. I have painted anything and everything!

Versatility can really help with concepts and confidence. Art is not limited to painting, so create what makes you happy, whether that be a piece, sculpture or mural. Versatility will stop you being a starving artist."


General admission tickets for the opening were $30.00.

The Exhibition
The free public exhibition continued to run on Saturday 15-Sunday 16 June 2019 and I went along to view the impressive works.

As well as visual art there was also a sample of performance art. Current students Will Carroll and Sammy Stephens (fresh from a slight concussion at the previous day's rugby match) provided musical ambience as a duo of buskers with singing and playing guitar in the courtyard entrance to the Tower. They added to the joy and cultural mood of the day.

Marist musicians and students Will and Sammy


About the venue - The White Tower
I found it easy to find the venue and spot the grand White Tower building, which is a centre-piece and symbol of the campus. Having been built in the 1930s, the Tower has undergone an extensive and tasteful restoration and continues to watch over Ashgrove and Marist students from near and many streets away. It seems only fitting that the art exhibition is held here to blend the past with the present.

The artworks were displays across 2 levels of the Tower - upstairs were the student and external exhibitors and downstairs was an artisan market.

The restored White Tower Building


The Exhibition
The first painting I saw was that of Drapl - an expectedly edgy piece taking centre stage. From there, I and other visitors experienced an amazing collection of over 160 works with images reflecting the natural world, powerful portraits, and scenic landscapes.

Pieces were available for purchase and ranged from $60 - $2500. Works on display included mixed media, charcoal, acrylic, shellac and oils. Famed Mexican artist Frieda Kahlo was a favourite subject, appearing in 2 pieces along with distinctive Brisbane landmarks such as inner-city New Farm Park, The Gasworks and Princess Street.



Alongside the more experienced artists, like Tricia Lambi and Mark Salta, the Year 8 and Year 9 student photographic prints were equally as impressive, showing that Marist visual arts is in good hands.

My favourite piece?
Well, while I loved them all, I was particularly captured by Nikki Metzelings' piece called "Budgie" with its exquisite colours and lifelike image. It had my vote in the People's Choice Award.





Whether the medium was oil, water colours, charcoal, or the styles contemporary, portraits, or landscapes, each told an authentic, individual story with personal meaning,



The Artisan Market on the Ground Floor level, and shown only on Saturday and Sunday included ceramics, purses, bags and jewellery from designers such as:

The Clay Smith Studio
dARTon Jewellery
PASH Unique Handcrafted Jewellery
Oxlade and heart
Schoolof Delusion and
Kim Aitkin Ceramics.

After all that browsing, a stop at the pop-up cafe was a chance to grab a hot drink and a cupcake and finish as you began, with music in the courtyard. Oh and just enough energy left to buy a ticket in the mandatory school raffle.

The pop up cafe




I enjoyed the opportunity to help support Marist College Ashgrove and enjoy the outstanding artistic talent on show at this community art and cultural event. If you missed out, don't fret. It is expected that it will be back in 2020 with more wonderful art to enjoy.
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*Gillian Ching was invited as a guest
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Why? Student and Professional Art on Display
When: Friday evening from 7pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am - 2pm
Phone: 0401 181 133
Where: Marist College, Ashgrove
Cost: $30 for opening night, free over weekend viewing
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