History of the Art in the Porongurup
The First Art in the Park Exhibition
Held in 2002 and organized by the late Ann Burchel, the first exhibition raised funds to assist the Friends of the Porongurup Range with the purchase of a 1260 acre farming property now known as Twin Creeks Conservation Reserve. Sculptures were displayed in the Porongurup National Park annually through to Easter 2018. The exhibition continues as an important community event at Karribank. Proceeds provide ongoing funds for the annual exhibition and to meet the operating costs of Twin Creeks. The Reserve is owned and managed by Porongurup Friends volunteers.
Barbara was a staunch member of the Friends of the Porongurup Range and generously continued sponsorship until her death in 2010. An outspoken environmentalist, Barbara was an active “greenie” in her earlier years. Later, she financially supported groups and organisations which were involved in land care and conservation including assistance in the purchase of the Twin Creeks.
Barbara Coppin sponsored the 2002 “People’s Choice” award in honour of her father (The H.E. Braine Art Award) which was presented to Linda Morrison for The Watchers. In addition to Linda’s exhibit, the list of artists for the first exhibition included: Hilde Ranson, Anne Luscombe, Jodie deBurgh, Melanie McQuillan, Kevin Draper, Wendy Diletti, Christine Baker, Trish Powell, Adam Webb. Maureen James, Richard Blythe, Richard Cooper, Richard Malpass. Alice Hearn, Angus & Melanie Mackenzie, Peter MacDonnell, Alex Erskine, Les Sharpe & Ian Ranson.
Barbara bequeathed a legacy to the Friends upon her death. The Barbara Coppin Fund will continue to support Art in the Porongurup prize winners.
The Porongurup Fire
The community was profoundly affected by the February 2007 Porongurup Bush Fire which challenged the Art in the Park organisers as well. Damage to the park and surrounding areas was extensive and many sections deemed unsafe. Nearly 50 artists had created works and were anxious for the exhibition opening on 7th April. Permission was finally granted for the event to be held in a restricted section of the Park with only a fortnight left before the opening. Orange barrier tape blocked off access to the remainder of the park where stumps were burning underground and trees dropping weakened limbs and branches. In spite of the challenges, Art in the Park 2007 was a success.