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The Mosman Art Trail Opens This Month!

A new open-air cultural experience is coming to Mosman.

The Mosman Art Trail, a collaboration between Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman Council and The Balnaves Foundation, is launching on April 30, 2024. This 10-km trail will take walkers on a scenic journey through 10 locations in Mosman, where they can admire the same views that inspired a dozen notable paintings from Mosman Art Gallery.

The Balnaves Gift, donated in 2010 by Mosman resident and philanthropist Neil Balnaves, is a collection of 16 Australian Impressionist and early 20th-century artworks valued at over a million dollars at the time.  These evocative pieces depict the beauty of Mosman through the eyes of renowned Australian artists like Arthur Streeton, Margaret Preston, and Elioth Gruner.

The Mosman Art Trail goes beyond just showcasing the paintings. Interpretive signs with QR codes will allow visitors to listen to a spoken word commentary narrated by acclaimed Australian actor Claudia Karvan. These signs acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the Cammeraigal and Borogegal peoples, whose art forms have reflected their connection to Country for countless generations.

Susan Rothwell, Balmoral Shark Net, 2008

The trail also highlights the area’s natural beauty, which inspired 19th-century artists like Streeton, Tom Roberts, and Charles Conder, who frequented the Curlew Camp artist encampment in Sirius Cove.

The inspiration for the trail came from Neil Balnaves himself. During Sydney’s COVID-19 lockdowns, he found solace in experiencing the same landscapes depicted in his donated collection.  He envisioned a way to share this joy with others, proposing an art trail featuring key paintings from The Balnaves Gift reproduced on outdoor signs at the artists’ original viewpoints.

Margaret Preston, Wooden Bridge, 1925.

Following Neil’s passing in 2022, his family, through The Balnaves Foundation, was determined to see the project completed in his memory.

“Dad was always passionate about Australian art and fostering cultural engagement with young people,” said Hamish Balnaves. “This new trail brings those two elements together, giving families and schools a way to explore local history, our natural surroundings, and how the area has changed since these artworks were created.”

Mosman Art Trail offers more than just a scenic walk. Mosman Art Gallery has created a complementary Kids Art Trail map with engaging activities for children.

Jasper Knight, Spit Bridge Tower, 2015.

“Mosman has inspired some of the most important Australian artists and artworks,” said Mosman Art Gallery Director, John Cheeseman. “Mosman Art Trail brings works from The Balnaves Gift to the public’s gaze and shines a light on the Mosman Art Collection. It’s a unique experience for the community to enjoy this special place and be inspired by art and nature.”

Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan sees the trail as a fitting tribute to Neil Balnaves. “Mosman Art Trail will be a wonderful addition to Mosman’s beautiful natural environment, and a very fitting way to remember Neil Balnaves who lived in this area for more than 50 years and was so active in our community.”

The Mosman Art Trail is part of the existing Bondi to Manly walk and incorporates the Mosman Cultural Walk. Featured paintings include works by Streeton, Sydney Long, Ethel Carrick Fox, Margaret Preston, and a contemporary piece by Jasper Knight.

For more information on the Mosman Art Trail, launching on April 30, 2024, visit http://mosmanartgallery.org.au .