Inspired by nature: Lyla, 5 and Sadie, 6 develop some visuals ahead of submitting artwork to the Ballarat Children’s Art Award. Photo: CHIPPY RIVERA

Ballarat’s spirit through young eyes

June 10, 2021 BY

WHAT ideas and visuals does the phrase ‘beautiful Ballarat’ spark within you?

It’s the theme of the 2021 Ballarat Children’s Art Award, and coordinator Margie Balazic said it has been designed to uplift the city, and spotlight its “special qualities.”

“In the eyes of the children, what do they see as Ballarat’s true beauty? Students are asked to illustrate what makes Ballarat special,” she said.

“We would like them to showcase Ballarat’s treasures; capture the essence of Ballarat, find the spirit of the land, look at our architecture, our people, our history, our future… We’re asking the children how they view Ballarat, whether in the past, present or future.

“The future of Ballarat is within our amazing children, so these visions are important.”

Ms Balazic said the challenges of 2020 and 2021 have reminded residents young and old of how fortunate they are to live in regional Victoria. The Award is an opportunity to find out more about this place.

“I hope families explore Ballarat in ways they never done before, see its natural characteristics, our architecture, or discover a story from the past. Research, live and embrace Ballarat.

“Appreciate our own surrounds… discover our environment, our local history, or create a wonderful future,” she said.

“As a mother, I believe enticing stories and exploration is beneficial for the mind. Art delights, it creates self-expression and purpose. We need our children to dream, explore and design. Our designers are the new innovative thinkers.”

Budding artists around town, including friends like five-year-old Lyla and six-year-old Sadie, have already started to brainstorm their beautiful Ballarat ideas, loving the chance to get experimental and “messy.”

They’re inspired by the city’s green spaces, like the Botanical Gardens, Lake Wendouree, and the animals that live in that precinct, including swans and insects.

The Ballarat Children’s Art award was founded in 2014 as part of DanaFest, multicultural event at Dana Street Primary School, and has received 10,000 illustrations in the years since.

“It was designed to bring the community together by showcasing individual abilities, discovering unique differences, and making art accessible for everyone to achieve,” Ms Balazic said.

Since 2015, Ms Balazic and Katherine Meerman have coordinated the competition, which grows annually.

McGrath Ballarat is the 2021 sponsor, providing pens and certificates for all students involved, and the winning prizes. General Plastic Ballarat are providing trophies.

Jessica Nestor of McGrath Ballarat said an album on agency’s Facebook page will showcase some of the artworks received.

“This wonderful local initiative promotes imagination and creativity amongst our children of Ballarat. It was a no-brainer for McGrath Ballarat to jump on board again, and up our commitment,” she said.

“With many young children in our greater McGrath Ballarat family, we just can’t wait to see kids’ excitement and pride as they come through the door to present their hard work.

“We are so honoured to be the main sponsors. Margie and Katherine have worked so hard to bring this to life.”

Categories include kindergarten, prep, Grade 1 to 2, three to four, five to six, Year 7 to 8, nine to 10, and 11 to 12.

Children and teens from wider Ballarat may enter one artwork on A4 paper using any media, except 3D art. Do not write a name on the artwork as it will be judged blindly.

Deliver the artwork and the separate entry form together in one A4 plastic sleeve to McGrath Ballarat, 805 Sturt Street, Ballarat by Friday, 3 September.

“We cannot wait to see Ballarat flourishing in colour,” Ms Balazic said.

Entry forms are available via or [email protected].