WHEN the owner of north-west Sydney's newest art gallery put the call-out for exhibiting artists a month ago, she didn't expect the rush of interest it would receive.
"The response was overwhelming, with more than 30 artists filling Muse Gallery with works previously hidden and never before seen by the public due to a lack of community space to display them," owner and curator Mary Louise, of Dundas, said.
The Kenthurst Rotary Club member only opened the Castle Hill gallery in December.
"Having burns on your face, it's something you have to deal actively with every day"
The first public exhibition will open on Friday with works by artists aged 19 to 80.
They include former Castle Hill High mates Vlad Trofimov and Andy Miao, for whom the exhibition is deeply personal because it features a photo self-portrait painted over by Mr Trofimov, who is a human form painter.
"Having burns on your face, it's something you have to deal actively with every day," Mr Miao, 19, said.
An editorial photographer by profession, he said he was hospitalised for three months when he was 13 after a fire he was playing with gave him a third-degree burn on his face.
"For me, I use my traumatic experiences and setbacks in my life and change all the negatives into something positive through my photography," Mr Miao said.
He and Mr Trofimov will have four mixed-media pieces in the exhibition which features more than 90 artworks, including paintings in oils, acrylics, watercolours, pastels, pen and ink; glass art; ceramics; pottery; resin art; sculptures; jewellery; hand-made candles and greeting cards.
Prices range from $50 for Cassowary and Circling Sea Hawk (acrylic artworks by Erwin Zehentner), to $1600 (the priciest in the range) for Glorious, an acrylic and gold leaf artwork by Jeanette Prout.
"To help as many artists as I can from The Hills and surrounding suburbs, I opened my gallery up for all artists to showcase their artworks to the public at no cost to themselves"
"To help as many artists as I can from The Hills and surrounding suburbs, I opened my gallery up for all artists to showcase their artworks to the public at no cost to themselves," Mary Louise said.
Mr Miao said: "For us young artists it's really hard to come up with the money to have an exhibition, so I think Muse is a great idea."
READ MORE: Click here to read more about Muse Gallery.
Mary Louise is calling on the community to help keep the gallery financially viable.
‘‘Already, one local bank is considering sponsorship, and I am about to approach local council for a cultural grant for the gallery’s upkeep,’’ she said.
■ Mary Louise (gallery curator): acrylic art;
■ Madelaine Batchelor: oil and watercolour;
■ Nicola Coady: ceramic;
■ Deb Donahoe: resin;
■ Angelika Erbsland: watercolour and acrylic;
■ Jaya Fialok: oil and mixed media;
■ Nancy Henderson: crystal jewellery;
■ Shazia Imran: watercolour and sculpture;
■ Dianna James: acrylic;
■ Lesleyanne Kilkeary: watercolour and acrylic;
■ Soo Beng Lim: acrylic and ink;
■ Daniella Marshall: candle art;
■ Faye Perkins: oil and watercolour;
■ Denise Peterson: acrylic;
■ Jeanette Prout: watercolour and acrylic;
■ Caroline Pullinger: acrylic;
■ Simone Read: ink and watercolour;
■ Lesley Richman: acrylic;
■ Margaret Van Eyk: watercolour and acrylic;
■ Barbara Ward: watercolour and acrylic;
■ Anna Watts: acrylic and ink
■ Jodie Wells: pencil drawing and acrylic;
■ Jennifer Zammit: acrylic;
■ Tricia Zavattaro: watercolour and acrylic;
■ Erwin Zehentner: acrylic and mixed media.