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Cafe to shine spotlight on local artists

When cafe 2340 owner Samantha Szyc put a call out for local artists wanting to exhibit at the cafe’s gallery, she wasn’t quite expecting how popular the idea would be. “There is no shortage of talented artists in Tamworth,” Mrs Szyc said. “The response has been amazing and we are just so pleased to be able to support the local art scene.”

The cafe already has three shows booked in, and a long list of other artists waiting for a spot. Each exhibition will show for a month with cafe 2340 hosting an opening night for each artist.

The cafe’s first opening will be held this Saturday 13 February and will feature the diverse artwork of local artist Joanne Stead. Scraperboard and other amusements represents a mid-career change and major achievement for Ms Stead, who now balances working part-time as an artist with her own community development consultancy. “At the beginning of last year I took a bit of a leap of faith to move away from full-time employment and head off in my own direction, but it has turned out to be the perfect blend,” she said.

Joanne’s medium, scraperboard, is not a familiar one, and she believes that it stands out from the crowd. “It is such an accessible medium and I think that the black and white really pops. The high contrast has a strong appeal for me and the detail that you can create with scraperboard is just fantastic,” Ms Stead said. Ms Stead is keen to introduce more people to scraperboard and will mark the close of the exhibition with a free scraperboard class at cafe 2340 gallery on the morning of 11 March.

“Working with other artists and people in the community to create art together has been one of the most rewarding parts of this last year,” Ms Stead said.

In April last year Ms Stead joined the team behind the art and special features at the Marsupial Park Adventure Playground. “Our volunteer art gang from the Tamworth Adventure Playground project got along so well that we decided to stick together and the Tamworth Regional Art Collective is currently part way through two more public art projects in Tamworth, with more on the horizon. It is such a thrill to be creating art that will be seen and enjoyed by so many people,” she said.

Cafe 2340’s exhibitions will rotate monthly with Amy Basnett next in line to take up the opportunity. Scraperboard and other amusements will officially open at 6:30pm on Saturday 13 February at cafe 2340 gallery and will run until the 13 March.

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