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LET THERE BE By Melissa Walsh Photos Garry Sissons

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estled amongst cottage gardens and towering trees stands a building rich in history which now houses the creative brilliance of Mornington Peninsula artists. The Oak Hill Gallery has been a community hub for artists for the past 18 years, encouraging local and visiting artists to work on their craft and enjoy a space of inspiration and innovation in Mornington. Oak Hill Gallery manager Yvonne Watson has been running the artists’ space for the past eight years and has a passion for the peninsula and its established or aspiring artists since she moved here a decade ago. “My husband grew up on the sands of Portsea and we have always had a holiday house here that we eventually decided to move to permanently,” she says of their sea change. These days the energy of the gallery is driven by Yvonne, who is also a creative soul being a printmaker and photographer.

“I encourage all artists to contact the gallery to display their work or come along to one of the many classes to improve their skills and knowledge,” says Yvonne as she proudly shows us around the gallery. “We are a community cooperative so a lot less intimidating than the larger galleries. Our work is all about encouraging artists and offering a place to inspire creativity. We hold workshops for children as well as adults and regularly host exhibitions for local artists.” The five exhibition spaces within the building are a series of warm contemporary rooms with high ceilings and polished floors. Original fireplaces have been retained, as has the veranda of this building that was originally a homestead built by William Dunn in 1892. The artists’ studios were previously the farm’s outbuildings, situated amongst the landscaped grounds. “We offer the public and art lovers alike the opportunity to appreciate a wide variety of styles from the traditional to contemporary, and exhibits works by professional and up-andcontinued next page... August 2018

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