New Sunshine Coast equine art prize and exhibition to support mental health

Image: Roslyn Nolen To Be Free Acrylic

A new annual visual art prize and exhibition supporting mental health has been launched on the Sunshine Coast and is calling for entries.

Seeing the Soul: Hoofbeats Sanctuary Art Prize and Exhibition will be held at Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre from 31 March to 30 April.

Image: Syndy Esteves Where the snow falls and the brumbies play

According to CEO, Barb Blashki, Seeing the Soul is a major fundraising initiative to support and promote Hoofbeats Sanctuary’s work by celebrating and showcasing equine art and raising awareness of mental health. 

Cash prizes will be awarded for overall winner, painting/drawing, sculpture/3D and photography categories, as well as people’s choice award. 

“Located at Doonan, Hoofbeats Sanctuary is a safe, restorative space that brings people, animals and nature together to improve the emotional well-being of some of the most vulnerable members of our community – those living with mental health challenges resulting from trauma,” Ms Blashki said.

“Our community is currently facing a mental health crisis and demand for program places is growing rapidly.

“Proceeds from Seeing the Soul will enable us to train more program facilitators and offer more program places. 

“Equine therapy programs are a key part of the sanctuary’s work.

“The Sanctuary is home to a herd of ten horses and ponies, most of which have experienced big life stressors in their own lives, making them the perfect teachers,” she said.

All artworks, which can be either donated or submitted on consignment, are to depict a horse at liberty, free from all forms of tack and saddlery. 

In addition to the donated artworks the exhibition will include a number of ceramic horse statues decorated by some of Australia’s most loved celebrities, which will be auctioned at the Closing Night event. 

Conditions of entry and online entry form are on the exhibition website,



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