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The 14th annual Auckland East Arts Showcase held at Grace Joel retirement village this month was even bigger and better this year with nearly 300 art-lovers in attendance.

The three-day event was launched on the Friday night of Mother's Day weekend with a special opening ceremony and cocktail party attended by members of the Auckland East Arts Council committee, Auckland City Councillor and Orakei Community Board member Toni Millar, who was guest speaker, plus numerous artists and exhibitors including featured artist Yana Meech.

The event has grown in stature each year since its inaugural exhibition in 2004 to become the highlight of the Grace Joel calendar, and fittingly so, given the village is named after New Zealand artist Grace Joel.

Organiser and Grace Joel sales advisor Bronwen Steere said the art showcase had become very well known in the Eastern Bays community over the years, with thousands of dollars being raised for the village’s chosen charities.

“We made $1,400 this year from commissions from paintings which the Auckland East Arts Council donated to our charity, the Heart Foundation, and of course Ryman will match that dollar for dollar.”

Ms Steere said the lounge and community centre were emptied of furniture in order to properly display the 300 different artworks from 65 artists.

“It is a huge undertaking and the highlight of the village year in regards to events,” she said.

Village manager Arthur Keane introduced the special guests on the opening night, emphasising that with the weekend coinciding with Mother’s Day, it made for the perfect venue for art-loving mothers to enjoy a day out.

Mr Keane was thrilled to host featured artist Yana Meech at the showcase.

“Yana is a self-taught artist and is considered one of New Zealand’s up and coming contemporary painters,” he said.

“She paints with acrylic on canvas, experimenting with many different styles from contemporary landscape to abstract.”

He added: “We are pleased to hold the art show each year and are fascinated with how it aligns to our village name sake, Grace Joel.”

This year’s People’s Choice awards went to:

Most Popular Artist – Elaine Ward

Most Popular Painting:

1. Angela Ward’s ‘Allelulia’
2. Elaine Law’s ‘It’s Only a Game’
3. Janet Stacey’s ‘Monet’s Garden’

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