The 2018 River of Art festival is set to flow, with the launch at the River of Art 2018 Prize exhibition on Thursday, May 17.
A panel of well-known artists decides the winner, to be announced at the SoArt Gallery, Narooma, from 6pm.
The exhibition is just one of 100 festival treats to be found along the Far South Coast, from Durras to Bermagui. Art lovers can dip their toe in the water or go for a deep trawl of the visual arts, live music, theatre and creative workshops.
Artists such as award-winning sculptor Paul Dimmer will exhibit at open studios throughout the shire.
Festival chair Robin Scott-Charlton said this year’s festival would run over the customary 10 days, but most events were concentrated from May 18 to 20.
“The second weekend falls on a Canberra long weekend,” Ms Scott-Charlton said.
“That’s good news for the Busking Festival in Narooma on Saturday, May 26. Our Eurobodalla Fibre and Textile Artists Group creations return to Moruya’s catwalks with their wearable art; this year the theme is Folklore and Fantasy,” she said.
“In Batemans Bay, there’s plenty of fun with stand-up comedy at Cultivate Space.”
Ms Scott-Charlton said there was something new for 2018.
“For the first time, we have three arts and information hubs – at the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, the Air Raid Tavern in Moruya, and at Club Narooma – where visitors can chat with artists and volunteers about what’s on and where,” she said.
Ms Scott-Charlton had high hopes the festival could build on last year’s success.
“We set a record in 2017,” Ms Scott-Charlton said.
“We had more than 21,000 people attend River of Art events.
“Of those, 48 per cent were visitors, mostly coming from Canberra, regional NSW and Sydney.”
She said 2017 guests had stayed in the shire for longer than in previous years, “on average, four-and-a-half nights per person,” and had contributed an estimated $5 million to the shire’s economy.