The Mildura Riverfront Gallery is back up and running regularly and as strong as ever amidst a tough and challenging COVID period.

The Mildura Art Group, which has approximately 50 members, convenes at the gallery every Tuesday to paint, draw and socialise, enjoying their passion in the company of like-minded individuals, and the gallery remains open to the public on every other day except Wednesdays.

A wide range of artwork is on display at the gallery, and each month a different ‘feature artist’ from the art group is put on exhibition, with their pieces available for the public to purchase or just simply admire.

This month, an array of beautiful pieces by group artist Mary Briggs are being exhibited.

“The group and gallery have been running since 1966, 55 years this year,” a proud gallery president, Carol Rasmussen said.

“It’s been a hard period with COVID and a few of our artists haven’t come back to the fold just yet.

“We had a fantastic morning tea last week though and most have come back since then.”

Pleasing for the group though, is the fact it is not just the regular members attending the gallery now, but newer faces also showing interest.

“Younger people have started coming and joining in. We’ve got people who are still working and they come in on weekends to paint and spend time with the group,” Carol said.

“We’re getting a wide range of people in, which is great.”

The group is also looking to add more workshops and social events this year.

Gallery secretary, Liliana Mildred, believes adding these occasions will be a great way to boost morale after such a challenging period.

“We’ve got a painting group here every second Saturday of the month, that’s open to the public, and we’re trying to hold drawing classes and workshops and get the community in, which of course has been delayed by COVID,” she said.

“We’re going to organise to go out as a group for lunch once a month as well and we’re also talking about heading down to Broken Hill or Balranald as one of our artists, Marion Caccianiga, has an exhibition there.”

With the art group and gallery aiming to become more active than it has been during COVID and open up more opportunities to the community, Liliana says it would be the perfect opportunity for people to get out and enjoy in something they might find a love for.

“Something like art, you get involved in it and it just takes up all your mind-space, it distracts you from whatever problems you have going on in life, so it’s great for mental wellbeing,” she said.

“When people go through tough periods they usually keep to themselves instead of socialising, and there might be people out there who don’t want to join a group but once they come and see what we’re doing and enjoy in the activity, they keep coming and find a passion.

“I believe in that way it’s important to have something like this in the community, and it really helps people to meet others as well.”

New members are always welcome at the art group and gallery, and if anyone is interested they should contact Carol Rasmussen on 0427 856 463.