The Hackett Art and Craft Exhibition began in l976 as a fund raising effort for the Hackett Preschool and Hackett Primary School. What began as the idea of four mothers from the Preschool P&C Committee (Denise Rope, Fay Franklin, Kay Murphy and Mary Martin), evolved into a huge community project lasting several decades. With no venue in which to stage an exhibition, the Preschool mothers approached the Primary School Board with a view to conducting a joint fund raiser. They were happy to come on board.
Months of preparation involving numerous sub committees and rosters of school parents were required to set up, pack up, display and manage the 400 artworks and hundreds of craft items. Entries were judged and prizes awarded in various categories. The official opening took the form of a Wine and Cheese Night and was regularly compered by the late TV news reader, Peter Leonard who was a Hackett school parent.
The inaugural exhibition was not only a huge success financially, but was popular with exhibitors for the professional way in which works were presented. Display screens were borrowed from the ANU the first year, then the committee made their own screens using old house doors which were hinged together and painted black. Scaffolding for the lighting tower was loaned free of charge from a hire company in Fyshwick, and the lights themselves were borrowed from Dickson College. Setting up of the lights was done by schoolboy Chris Dodds (who went on to establish his own events lighting business).
With their preschool children moving on to Hackett Primary School and Rosary Demonstration School, Watson the following year, the committee suggested that these two schools unite and share the profits, while continuing to stage the exhibition at the Hackett Primary School. This unique undertaking was agreed to and fostered a special community spirit.
The Hackett Art and Craft Exhibition continued to thrive and attracted both local and interstate exhibitors. The organizing committee changed over time, as parents were no longer involved with children at the schools. Then in 1990, Hackett Primary School closed, so the Exhibition was moved to Rosary. It only lasted there for about three years due to the inability to cope with the considerable resourcing required to run it.
Daramalan then became the obvious choice as some parents became involved with that school. The extra space at Daramalan also provided the opportunity to expand the show, and with its increasing reputation, that is what happened.
While there were many ‘art and craft exhibitions’ held in Canberra in those years, the Hackett show was one of the best. Entries included oils, pastels pen and ink, acrylics watercolours, black and white drawings, photography, Japanese paper collage, pottery, ceramics, batik, weaving, copper enameling, wood turning and carving, quilting, china painting, macramé, needlepoint, copper work, dolls and puppets. As well as the artworks being professionally hung, the pottery and craft items were attractively displayed on tables decorated with bark, flowers and driftwood to compliment the exhibits.
The Art and Craft Exhibition celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2006. Around this time the original team felt that they could no longer meet the huge demands on their time, and as they were not able to find sufficient people willing to continue, the Exhibition finally folded.
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