Sir William Dobell honoured with new arts festival

Published on 24 May 2021

Dobell and Courtney.jpg

One of Lake Macquarie’s most famous names has inspired a new month-long celebration of art and performance.

Starting on 1 June, the Lake Macquarie Dobell Festival will be a month-long celebration of art and creativity, shaped by the works and life of Lake Macquarie’s most famous artist, Sir William Dobell.

Lake Macquarie City Council Lifelong Learning and Engagement Coordinator Jess Dowdell said the festival would explore passion, innovation, fringe arts, experimentation and creative excellence – all central to Dobell’s work.

“Dobell was a pioneer in his day, breaking rules and creating new styles,” she said.

“The Lake Macquarie Dobell Festival is all about giving creatives an opportunity to engage with communities and explore their passions.”

The festival includes art events, exhibitions, workshops and performances at venues across the City.

Highlights include:

  • BILL: A musical tribute to William Dobell, an evening of music held at Rathmines Theatre on Friday 11 June
  • ‘Dobell for Kids’ art events at Rathmines Theatre on Sunday 13 June
  • Real Worlds: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2020 exhibition of eight contemporary artists at the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC), Lake Macquarie, open throughout June
  • Your Collection, William Dobell at MAC, featuring nine of Dobell’s works from the 1950s-60s

MAC Curator Courtney Wagner said the Dobell works exhibited at MAC as part of the festival included portraits, landscapes and even a handmade postcard.

“The works are a perfect survey of his interests in subject, exploration of techniques, travel and culture,” she said.

Adding to the arts celebration, the 44th annual Dobell Festival of Art and Craft will be held June 4-6 at Wangi District Workers Club, featuring more than 300 art and craft entries from across the Hunter Region.

“The Lake Macquarie Dobell Festival brings together so many different creative events across the City, from community groups to professional performers,” Ms Dowdell said.

“This makes it a festival for the community, by the community.”

Sir William Dobell was one of Australia’s most celebrated portrait and landscape artists of the 20th century, winning the Archibald Prize in 1943, 1948 and 1959, and the Wynne Prize in 1948.

He settled in Wangi Wangi in 1945 and lived there until his death in 1970.

Go to for full festival details.

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