21 July 2023

Wagga Mardi Gras is calling for local artists to create something to be 'proud' of

| Chris Roe
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three women promoting mardi gras

Cristy Houghton, Holly Conroy and Christina Scurr from the Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras Festival Committee are giving local artists the opportunity to create the official artwork for next year’s event. Photo: Supplied.

In just a few years the Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras Festival has become a Riverina institution and the committee is calling for local artists to create something spectacular for next year’s event.

With $1000 up for grabs, creatives across the region are invited to celebrate their connection to the city with the festival’s first official artwork on the theme ”Wagga Proud”.

“We’re just looking for different ideas. It could be a drawing or painting, whatever you feel best represents Wagga and the LGBT community,” said Wagga Mardi Gras Festival founder Holly Conroy.

“We’re looking for inspiration, so we’re expecting loads of amazing entries from people all over the region.”

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Wagga’s first Mardi Gras Festival kicked off in 2019 and returned in 2022 after a couple of ”lost years” through the pandemic.

Looking towards the fourth event, next year, Holly said it had been amazing to see the Riverina community embracing the festival and the message.

“Wagga Mardi Gras is getting bigger every year and we’ve been overwhelmed with the love and support this city has shown to the event,” Holly said.

“Mardi Gras has become such a joyous, inclusive, and exciting weekend, we wanted to give local artists a chance to be part of it and help us demonstrate why we’re so proud to be here in Wagga.”

woman speaking on stage amid rainbow logos

Local businesses such as Tilly’s and CSU have been supportive of the festival and have even added their own artwork to the mix. Photo: Supplied.

The selection panel will feature members of the local LGBTQIA+ and arts communities, as well as the Mardi Gras committee, and the chosen artwork will be used to promote the 2024 festival and will feature on the event’s official merchandise.

Holly said the prize was another great way to celebrate Wagga and had been made possible by the growing committee.

“From the beginning, I wanted to do more things involving the community, but since I was organising it by myself it was quite difficult to get all of that happening along with everything else,” she explained.

“But ever since we’ve brought the committee into the Mardi Gras, we’ve just had so many different ideas and some amazing suggestions.”

Mardi Gras crowd

Holly’s original vision was a rainbow in Victory Memorial Park. Photo: Supplied.

Art and colour have been features of the event since it began and local businesses have embraced the theme, contributing their own designs and adding a spectrum of colour to their logos each year.

“My vision for the original Mardi Gras was to have a giant rainbow going over the stage down at Memorial Gardens,” Holly said.

“I was lucky enough to have Littlewood Signs jump in and help do the design and bring that to life for me, and they’ve done an amazing job too!”

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Applications are open until midnight on 31 August and Holly and the team are looking forward to seeing what local creatives come up with.

“Wagga’s definitely an artsy sort of place and we’ve got some incredible artists living in this region,” she said.

“Of course, we love our rainbows, however, you’re free to create whatever ‘Wagga Proud’ means to you.”

You can find out more and enter the competition here.

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