In 1975 in a small community, at a small school, a small idea came to life. Headed by Laurel Glanville the concept of the Derinya Art + Craft Exhibition (DACE) was to be a fundraiser to develop and grow Derinya Primary School.
In the beginning the exhibition displayed mainly local art and crafts including some student pieces. Old boards covered with hessian were the backdrop for art displays. Catering was a sausage sizzle and manned by students and parents. Children’s spaces were created including a TV room for the younger children and an art activity space for the school children. The whole community was welcomed and so began the community event of the year!
From the folk art feeling of its beginning the exhibition outgrew the Derinya Centre and with funds raised new spaces could be created. With the exhibition and the school growing, Jenny Phian was employed in 1995 for to professionalise the exhibition. Between Jenny Phian (a local expert in art show exhibitions, including Toorak College Art Show) and Pauline Bazley (Deputy Principal 1987-2000), an inspired parent committee set about to rewrite the rules of DACE.
Most of these ideas are still being used by the committee today:
The parent committee grew and continued to develop and formulate new ideas from 1997. At the end of 2000 Pauline Bazley retired as Principal. For Pauline the exhibition is a great testament to our community. A superbly professional display of art, painting, photography, sculpture, jewellery and crafts and she is proud it has maintained its true community status and integrity over the years.
With Jenny Roth as Derinya Primary School Principal and the continued involvement of Helen Clapperton (Art teacher) the Derinya Art + Craft Exhibition continued to dazzle crowds and became the social highlight for the community.
Professional display boards were hired from a business in Brighton and each year a team of dads would cart the boards late into the evening to and from Brighton.
There was always a great sense of camaraderie and fun amongst the huge team of workers. Classes had to vacate rooms and everyone joined in a collaborative effort. The long corridor walk carting screens up and down paid out massively on everyone’s feet but there was always a great celebration and a massive sense of achievement when the show was packed away.
In 2002 the school underwent a facilities redevelopment but the show went on regardless. The school purchased an old container from the Rotary Art Show Committee for $2000 which contained frames and other equipment to be used for the show. The school purchased new boards and reinvigorated the frames and a new home was found for the art show gear.
In 2010 the new stadium was built and the art show moved to this spectacular new venue. It quickly expanded and in the modern era became known as DACE. A new DACE garden and storage shed were quickly developed and the exhibition continues to grow annually. It is now a fine, well-oiled machine driven by a fabulous community. In 2015 the parents and staff of Derinya Primary School continued to work together to present the 40th Derinya Art + Craft Exhibition dedicated to all those who have contributed since 1975.
Fast forward to 2023 and in the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of three exhibitions we find ourselves in a new era for DACE. Our new Principal Nadine Pye joined the school in 2020 and as we journeyed through uncertain times together there’s a sense of comfort knowing art will yet again be the heart of our community. With new homes and new families in the area we’re reintroducing DACE with a fresh new look. We’ve worked with the core fabric of the DACE identity for a new logo which is a nod to the DACE sculpture standing tall in our schoolyard. We’ve muted the original colour palette down to a more contemporary, minimalist feel with an arty twist for 2023. We’re looking forward to sharing the rich history of DACE with our new families and cementing it as a firm date in the diary for years to come.