The community has a chance "to look at the world through the eyes of the artist" at the upcoming 2019 Rotorua Museum Art Awards exhibitions.

This year there have been 148 individual artists from around the region enter artworks.

The awards will be judged by New Zealand art curator, artist and writer Leafa Wilson.

Leafa has been the curator of art at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato since 2004 and has curated independently since 2001.


She will judge four of the five award categories and will also select the works for the Exhibition of Finalists, with 188 works to select from.

Julie Parsons, Rotorua Lakes Council, arts and culture volunteer lead, says it is exciting to see which works the judge will select from the stunning collection submitted.

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"There is an impressive range of media and styles, and for the first time this year we have a youth category.

"Some of the works submitted in this category are amazing in their maturity and professionalism. It's a great opportunity to spot emerging artists of the future."

Julie says with Rotorua Museum closed there is little opportunity for artists in the area to have their work hung professionally alongside their peers in an exhibition of this quality.

She says not only do these awards give artists the opportunity to profile their work, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to attract the eye of a buyer.

The awards are different from many other art competitions too, in that the artists get to have their work judged "in the flesh" rather than from a photograph, she says.

Leafa Wilson is the judge for the 2019 Rotorua Museum Art Awards. Photo / Supplied
Leafa Wilson is the judge for the 2019 Rotorua Museum Art Awards. Photo / Supplied

"It's also important for artists to be exposed to the works of their peers from an inspirational perspective, and as many of them spend much of their time working alone, getting together at the gala opening and talking with others about their work, their ideas and what inspires them is a rare opportunity."

While the exhibition is on display, people can vote for their favourite artwork either in the gallery or through the Rotorua Museum Facebook page.

Entry to the Exhibition of Finalists is free and will be open daily between 10am to 4pm.

Rotorua Museum will be displaying works that were not chosen for the finalist exhibition in a Salon des Refusés.

This exhibition will be hosted at the Pop Up Shop, 1201 Eruera St, from November 2 to 17 and open daily between 10am and 4pm.

Julie says the exhibitions are a terrific opportunity for the community to look at the world through the eyes of the artist.

"Many of the works are inspired by issues of our times and challenge us to think about the way we live our lives, while others celebrate what is or what has passed.

"This year being the 50th birthday of Rotorua Museum, we hope the awards will showcase 50 works from our very talented creative community.

"With Rotorua Museum closed there is little opportunity for our community to immerse themselves in and experience so many quality works in one space."

All artworks from both exhibitions will be on sale throughout the exhibition period.

For more information on the awards and exhibitions go to

The details
- What: 2019 Rotorua Museum Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists
- When: Wednesday, October 23 to Sunday, November 10. 9am to 4pm
- Where: Rotorua Energy Events Centre
- Cost: Free

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