by By Yvonne Gardiner
THE Royal Queensland Art Society gallery at Broadbeach is staging a special Our Gold Coast exhibition in April, with the hope of attracting Commonwealth Games visitors.
The gallery sits next to the lawn bowling venues for the Games.
This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and locals to buy original paintings at a fraction of large-gallery cost.
The Royal Queensland Art Society has a long history, having started in 1887 in Brisbane.
Artistic director Leanne Manns says the "royal" prefix was bestowed by King George in 1926.
"Now here on the Gold Coast, there are over 380 active members and the society continues to grow," she said.
"Members display original art and each month we have a new display.
"There's a good variety of art, from traditional to contemporary and abstract.
"The society is a not-for-profit and run by volunteers who are all artists - beginners through to professionals.
"We also run a variety of classes and workshops upstairs.
"The pride and prestige of belonging to a dedicated art society is as strong today as it ever was."
Margaret Nicholas, of Southport, joined the society half-a-century ago.
"I had a gap in the middle when I took up pottery," she said.
"I sold every watercolour painting I ever did at first. It was easy then.
"There's so many artists on the coast now.
"I do mainly watercolours. I like doing seascapes."
Margaret says the gallery has changed quite a bit in 50 years.
"It's far more organised and commercial," she said.
"Being a member, you see other people's work and get lots of ideas, and become part of a group."
Tonye Stone paints in oils, mostly images of people and animals.
She's a relative newcomer to the gallery, having joined two years ago.
Tonye's looking forward to showing people from overseas "our local treasures" during the Games.
Souvenirs are easily found, with a wall full of paintings in the gift shop, all priced under $100.
The gallery is at 25 Broadbeach Boulevard, Broadbeach, opposite the beach, and with a bus stop right outside.
Entry is free to all exhibitions.
Opening hours are weekdays 10am to 3pm, and weekends 9am to 5pm, with extended hours during holiday periods. Go to rqasgoldcoast.com for details.