Art in the fast lane
By NADINE FISHER
IMPERIAL Hotel owner/manager Wayne Duckworth is a enthusiastic Speed On Tweed fan and was keen to bring the spirit of the event into the hotel.
So he commissioned Murwillumbah artist Tania Summerell to do a series of seven paintings to "dress up" the hotel.
"I wanted an artist who could capture something a bit different in the paintings and Tania has achieved that with these exceptional works," he said.
"The paintings will hang in the bar and dining areas where patrons can appreciate them."
With vibrant red dominating the canvases and the symbolic checkered flag featured in the works - they are sure to catch the eye of hotel patrons and Speed On Tweed spectators. Mr Duckworth, who has owned the hotel for two years, said their accommodation for this weekend has been booked out since last September.
"We have 23 rooms here which can accommodate more than 100 people, and we have a waiting list 20 long in case of cancellations," he said.
"We've also got extra staff on for the Saturday night dinner, which is booked-out at the hotel, and have ordered about 20 extra kegs of beer."
Mr Duckworth said the festival was great for Murwillumbah, attracting a different crowd of people to the area and was a prime opportunity to "show off the town".
"It brings a certain sophistication to the area and is a prime opportunity to show visitors the character of the town," he said.
"I've done over 250 square metres of renovations to cater specifically for crowds at Speed on Tweed - 60 to 70 per cent of that was in the dining areas and the rest in the bar."
Artist Tania Summerell, who has lived in Murwillumbah for 14 years, said the commissioned works for the hotel were "very different" to her normal style.
"But I captured the essence of Speed On Tweed in these contemporary paintings and that is my forte," she said.
"It was a different vision, but they have encapsulated the feel of the event in a bold and graphic style."