Grand finale gesture by patron

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times
Dianne Laurance, pictured with last year’s winning sculpture — Daniel Fisher’s The Guardian, has a surprise in store for this year’s Dunsborough Arts Festival attendees.
Camera IconDianne Laurance, pictured with last year’s winning sculpture — Daniel Fisher’s The Guardian, has a surprise in store for this year’s Dunsborough Arts Festival attendees. Credit: Picture supplied.

Dianne Laurance just loves art.

She says she cannot get enough of the medium and if a piece speaks to her, she can’t resist adding it to her collection.

For the past 11 years, Ms Laurance has been a major patron of the Dunsborough Arts Festival’s Sculpture by the Bay and the well-known collector has sponsored the competition’s Award of Excellence since the exhibition’s inception.

The prize has grown to deliver $3000 to the winner, and Ms Laurance is well known for acquiring the winning piece for her personal collection.

Previous works, including Margaret River artist Daniel Fisher’s winning piece from 2019, The Guardian, are scattered through her home and garden.

“I feel like I live in a museum and when I die I’ll be known as the old woman who died in a museum,” Ms Laurance said.

“My house is just full, I can’t stop myself.

“Art just triggers emotion in me and it is actually like it is calling out to me.

“Every time I go to judge, I slap myself and say ‘don’t buy anything’ but it just screams ‘I’m yours, I’m yours’, it is like I don’t have a choice in the matter.”

Ms Laurance, who has become an internet sensation with her popular Instagram page Dumped Wife’s Revenge, said she could not name a favourite piece and admitted the competition was getting harder to judge each year.

This year, the Eagle Bay identity will show her support for the festival in a big way — by paying for a finale fireworks show, a display which will be a first for Dunsborough.

Ms Laurance said she loved how the festival brought the community together and she was thrilled to be able to add to the experience.

“Art means a lot to me, I’ve always been interested in art all my life, it fascinates me,” she said.

“I try to be a good community member and I feel these fireworks will bring added enjoyment to the locals — plus it has never been done and I have a bad trait for always wanting to be the first.”

While Ms Laurance is one of the official judges, festival attendees get to cast their vote and influence the result of the people’s choice award.

Ms Laurance said it was marvellous to see so many people of all ages and demographics, discussing their favourite pieces and why they liked them so much.

“Their critical process is as important as any highbrow art judge, and I love hearing their conversations and seeing how seriously they take their vote,” she said.

“I honestly believe that as the standard of sculptures has increased, so too has the understanding and knowledge of the community.

“In this case, it’s a win-win situation.”

Dunsborough Arts Festival co-ordinator Jacquie Happ expressed her thanks to Ms Laurance, saying she would make this year’s event “extra special” through the fireworks.

“Throughout history philanthropists have supported festivals and cultural events for their community’s entertainment and rich experiences,” she said.

“Dianne Laurance saying yes to providing Sculpture by the Bay with a major prize all those years ago meant the exhibition could grow to where it is today.”

The Dunsborough Arts Festival will be held from February 28-March 2.

Sculpture by the Bay and the Small Sculpture Prize opens on Saturday, February 29 at 9am, and all the sculptures are for sale.

To keep up to date with the event, visit Sculpture by the Bay on Facebook.

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