There's been a surge in new artists joining the Dannevirke Art Society, thanks to the work Elspeth Atkinson is doing to generate interest.

On Tuesday night at the opening of the 57th annual exhibition, new and emerging artists were to the fore in the Heather Foote Trophy section, open to those with less than four years' experience.

Presented by Maurice Foote, it was David Phillips who has been with the art society for just three months, who won the trophy.

"David is an exciting young talent," Mr Foote said.

Second was Patricia Gilmore who has only been in Dannevirke for two and a half years, with Christine Moses third. Christine has been painting for 12 months.

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Mr Foote and his brother, Ken, have been associated with the Dannevirke Art Society since 2003.

"We connected with the club initially when our mother died and we had truck loads of art stuff and easels we donated to the club and instead of any payment, it was decided to have a trophy presented in memory of our mother," Mr Foote said.

Diane Clayton was the winner of the best painting in the show trophy with her beautifully detailed work, Bush Twitter.

Diane has been with the art society for four years, but admitted this year had been a challenge. Highly commended was Mike Harold's work, Tamaki in Summer.

The Rosebowl winner was Tracy Pearson, with Diane Clayton second and Gill Charmley third. The theme of the Rosebowl second was Picturing Change, which had been suggested by a new club member.

A poignant feature of the exhibition is a tribute to 50 years of signwriting work of the late Val Cheer of Norsewood.

"This is a display of an artist at work and Val's legacy of art in our town," art society chairwoman Gill Charmley said.

The exhibition was opened by Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis whose mother and grandmother are both artists.

"Sadly, their skill and talent bypassed me," she said.

"But I'm very fortunate to have two daughters who can paint."

The exhibition is open until Sunday, 10am to 4pm, at the Home Industries Hall at the A&P Showgrounds, with entry off High St.

Admission is free.

• More from the exhibition will feature in Saturday's edition of the Dannevirke News.