Community IN Colour
Since selling her first piece of art through a community show, Butter Factory Arts Centre coordinator Alicia Sharples has been on a mission to help local artists share their works with the community, as Jolene Ogle discovers
There is nothing pretentious about the Butter Factory Arts Centre (BFAC). Housed in the old Butter Factory building on Cooroy’s main street and run by the very down-to-earth Alicia and a team of volunteers, this is a space run by the community for the community.
Light spills in through the huge factory windows, filling the exhibition space with an ethereal glow fit for such a historic building. Adorning the walls and sitting proudly upon plinths are works handcrafted by locals who want to share their art with the community, and there couldn’t be a more appropriate space for them to do so.
A gift store is packed to the roof with handcrafted pieces all made by local artisans. From pottery to one-off jewellery pieces, serving ware, cards and unique gift ideas, The Artisan Store is a permanent display of the region’s creativity.
As coordinator of the BFAC and as an artist herself, Alicia knows how it feels to exhibit works as a new artist. She was 31 when she first showed her works in a community show and it was there that she also sold her first piece.
“The community show created a feeling of a level playing field,” she explains. “I felt very welcome and not intimidated.”
For Alicia, the chance to help other artists share their works is what drives her passion for art and the local community.
To celebrate the abundance of artistic work created in Noosa and beyond, the BFAC will host the annual Eclectica Art Awards that invites 140 Butter Factory Friends (BFFs) to take part. An impressive 83 BFFs will show more than 143 works with this year being the first time prizes are offered thanks to local sponsors: Noosa Art Tours; Highly Strung; Oxlades; Yandina Framing; and the Cooroy Community Bendigo Bank.
The Eclectica Art Awards will offer community artists the chance to share their works with the wider community and, with many pieces on sale, art-lovers can grab a unique piece for their home. If you haven’t yet discovered the plethora of local art on offer in Noosa, it’s time to get along to BFAC!