THE art world and the environmental sphere came together for a celebration of colour, texture and shape with the opening of the Caldera Art Festival 2012 at Murwillumbah's Civic Centre on Saturday.

Images of fabulous frogs, awesome ospreys and wailing waterfalls were among the 110 entries.

Festival supporter and former Tweed Shire mayor Max Boyd said the festival's art gave people and especially kids the opportunity to see things they might otherwise never see.

When he was a councillor, the word environment was hardly ever used.

"Environmental was a foreign word," Mr Boyd said.

Now, it was used more and more and that was a good thing.

The opening night also served as a platform to announce the festival's 45 finalists who will see their chosen art works go on the road and displayed at different locations including the Centre at Beaudesert where the festival's ultimate winners will be announced.

Festival organiser Andy Reimanis said the winners would be announced on October 20.

However, on Saturday, two major prize winners were already announced with the Max Boyd Prize and the Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music Prize winners presented to an admiring audience.

Lennox Head painter Christine Read walked away with the Tyalgum festival prize consisting of a two night stay at Mavis' Kitchen for her work, dubbed Magpies at Lake Ainsworth, and saw her winning art work sold almost immediately.

Art lover Mary Marsh couldn't resist Ms Read's beautiful painting and said she couldn't wait to take it home to Boorowa, a town located between Cowra and Yass in NSW.

Photographer John van den Broeke, who is a member of the Tweed photography club, won the Max Boyd prize consisting of a stay at Wychwood Forest Escape for his work Awesome Osprey.

"There are so many great works, I just feel lucky," Mr van den Broeke said.

The Caldera Art Festival exhibition will remain at Murwillumbah's Civic Centre until Sunday, October 7, after which it will hit the road and open at the Centre in Beaudesert on October 20 and stay there until November 24.

A separate exhibition of the works by Caldera Art Fellowship recipients Jacqueline King, Rhonda Baker and Daniel Hancox will run at the Roxy Gallery in Kyogle from October 16 until November 10.



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