Since 2005, bentART has been fondly thought of as the opening event of the Queens Birthday weekend in the Blue Mountains. A three-day extravaganza of LGBTQI events including the bentART exhibition opening night on the Friday, the “Blue Light Disco” in Blackheath on the Saturday night and the more formal costume ball rounding off the weekend nicely on Sunday evening.

Sue Lightfoot, President of the bentART management committee talked to Star Observer about some of the unusual challenges the committee faced while deciding how to go ahead with the 2021 event after COVID forced cancellation in 2020.

“We’d done it so many times, however, this was completely new and we had lots and lots of discussions on how we would do it. We decided we’re just going to do the online option and we had to look at a number of software programs, select the best one for our needs and then someone had to learn how to use it all!

“Then we had to work out how we were going to get all the images of all the artworks and send out a whole lot of stuff to the artists around that, for sizing, how would we deal with sculptures to give them a 3D look – to give the artist and their artworks the best possible chance to still shine in an online environment.”

Doing an online exhibition event for the first time not only plunged the committee into the deep end, with lots of research required. The artists were also were forced to think outside the box when it came to deciding how they were going to go about creating their submission, especially since for the first time, bentART will be delivered to a global audience through the virtual gallery!

“I think it was a challenge for the artists as well. Creating their artwork knowing that they would have to take an image of it and provide the image, whether they did an art piece that had texture in it, whether it was 3D, what colours they used, what size they did, the whole lot, so I think it was probably a creative opportunity for them as well.”

Thanks to generous sponsorship in 2021, this year’s prize pool is one of the largest for a community art exhibition!

The 16th annual bentART exhibition goes live at 6pm on Friday, June 11. Visit for more details.

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