Dungog is developing into an arts hub of the Hunter with a new art gallery opening in Dowling Street adding to the existing creative outlets in the shire.
Sarah Crawford and Stephen Hobbs not only have an appreciation of investment art but are artists themselves.
They have refurbished several rooms in the JA Rose building and transformed it into a light and airy gallery called Dungog Contemporary.
The beautiful old building with its stained glass windows and high pressed ceilings was the former home of Angus and Coote back in the gold rush days. The rooms still have the original safe, a fireplace and some exposed brickwork which apart from the star of the show – the artwork – makes for great talking points.
Stephen is a fine art photographer who has a fascination with architecture and the landscape.
Sarah, who grew up in Dungog and has a Fine Arts degree from UNSW works across many disciplines including textiles, jewellery, objects, sculpture and painting.
They officially opened the gallery on September 9. As well as the gallery, the couple who relocated from Sydney also run Top Paddock, a marketing and advertising agency.
“We are proud to open the gallery with a group show of such talent,” said Sarah.
“We have a series of paintings by Newcastle painter Nicole Chaffey who is a finalist in the 2017 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, both en plein air and studio works, and a beautiful sculpture by Oberon based sculptor Harrie Fasher.
“Being an artist run initiative we also show our own work.”
Stephen said the gallery had the vibe of a Fitzroy gallery with both well-known and developing artists featured.
“We are bringing sophisticated art to the country,” he said.
“It is art that is not only is aesthetically pleasing but is also a good investment.”
The couple plan to collaborate with other local art studios and creative outlets to do an art trail in Dungog to attract more visitors.
This will work in with their art tourism – the first event being a Murrurundi Art Excursion.
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