Contemporary art has long stopped Julie Miller Markoff in her tracks.
She remembers the first piece she bought, as a 20-something living in Melbourne. The two-metre high Jackson Pollard print in the Brunswick Street shopfront grabbed hold of her and wouldn’t let go.
She bought it with one of her first pay packets, and took it home to hang as the hero in her tiny apartment of second-hand furniture.
Since then Julie has travelled the world, seeking out new and famous artists in the likes of New York’s Guigenheim.
Recently she stood in Bendigo’s mecca for contemporary art, La Trobe University’s Visual Arts Centre in View Street, awaiting the arrival of a very personal show.
The first Julie Miller Markoff Visual Arts Award winner, Rosina Brynes, used the prize to exhibit The glory Box early this term.
The award aims to give a Bendigo or Mildura La Trobe arts student assistance in making the transition from the classroom to the art world.
Julie says in donating the $3000 award, she hopes to help someone live a life that’s different.
“I’m very interested in moments of transformation, helping people do what they want to do when they feel they’re not able to do it,” she says.
“The best for anybody in terms of developing their career is to give them a platform.”
Julie worked with VAC director Paul Northam and Bendigo Art Institute director Neil Fettling to choose Rosina as the winner, announced last November.
The Castlemaine resident says the hardest part of initiating and awarding the prize was putting her name to it.
“I found that very difficult,” she says. “I’m just an ordinary person and I’ve chosen to do this.”
The 2015 Julie Miller Markoff Visual Arts Award is open until September 30 for submissions. Go to http://www.latrobe.edu.au/scholarships/Julie-Miller-Markoff-Visual-Arts-Award for details.