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SUCCESSFUL ART IN THE PARK (article first published : 2004-06-18)

Record sales of R1,064,891 at the 2004 Nashua Art in the Park have positioned the country's largest outdoor selling exhibition for further growth in the future.

Speaking in the aftermath of the event, Pietermaritzburg Tourism director Melanie Veness said this year's sales performance reinforces the success of the event over the recent past.

"Last year we achieved sales of R850,000 which was a substantial improvement on the 2002 exhibition, and this year's total seems to confirm the upward trend," she said.

Organised by Pietermaritzburg Tourism, this year's event drew a total of 8,270 people, excluding school groups and children, over a five-day period. A total of 55 artists were featured, mainly painters, from across the country who expressed themselves in a range of styles and mediums. The top selling artist was Wendy Mills from Durban with sales of R56,400, followed by Mat Louwrens (R51,020) and Kobus Kotze from Bloemfontein (R50,798).

Veness said the sales performance was due to strict selection criteria and a growing appreciation of original art. "We're obviously pleased that Art in the Park is attracting top artists and a discerning public that is investing in quality art.”

Event co-ordinator Dee Murhpy said competition for the 30-odd stands at the 2004 event was tough. "Last year's top 20 sellers gained automatic entry, leaving more than 80 artists to contest the 35 openings," she said. “This year's exhibition, like last year, featured a strong musical flavour with several musicians and bands performing throughout the he event. Art in the Park took place during the busiest time of the year in Pietermaritzburg, and co-incided with the annual Royal Show that attracted almost 215,000 visitors.”




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