Lithgow’s annual Skulls exhibition and auction held on the evening of the Halloween festival, is a huge draw, with thousands coming through the door in 2017.
Lithgow Library hosted the launch of the 2018 Lithgow Skulls exhibition on Friday, October 12, with artists coming together with members of the public.
A total of 53 artists participated in this year's exhibition, in which artists built on plain concrete skulls to create works of art.
More than 270 skulls have been created during the five years of the project, based on skulls made by Tim Johnman.
“It began as an offshoot and is now embedded in [Lithgow’s Halloween] festival,” Lithgow Tidy Towns’ secretary Kathleen Compton said.
They will remain on display until the Lithgow Halloween festival on October 27. They will be auctioned during the festivities, with the funds going to Lithgow Tidy Towns to support its laneways projects.
“It’s amazing to have the art of local artists in our laneways,” Ms Compton said.
The number of skulls had to be capped due to the numbers of artists keen to take part in the exhibition this year.
Mr Johnman said that was a long way from where it all started, when he actively recruited artists.
“Originally I drove around and I had a list of people I could think of, and then they recommended others,” he said.
“What I did find was that, if you put a blank concrete skull in someone’s hand, they won’t want to give it back.”
He paid tribute to the amazing works of the artists over the years.
The door counter at the library estimated 3000 people came in and out of the library during the Lithgow Halloween festival in 2017.
Mayor Ray Thompson said you “couldn’t get a better complement to Halloween” than the skulls exhibition.
“I used to think Lithgow was all about sport,” he said.
“But it’s amazing how talented Lithgow is in the arts.”
Some first time artists were very proud to have their works displayed.
The variety of the artworks has blown away early visitors. Bethany Flynn, a second year student at the National Art School, drew on her studies of melancholia to create her sculpture, which included the figure of a man atop a white skull.
Will Hazzard, 17, used his favourite dotted lizard motif on a highly textured skull base. Will, who is autistic, had been keen to be part of the skull exhibition for several years. Mum and fellow artist Kelly said they planned to do a joint exhibition at the library next year.
The Skulls exhibition is open during Lithgow library’s opening hours.
The skulls are featured on the Lithgow Tidy Towns Laneways Project Facebook.
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