The final countdown to the 53rd annual Camberwell Art Show is well and truly under way as the prestigious event begins on Friday with a gala opening, following which 1350 paintings from more than 500 Australian artists will be on display, and for sale, to the public daily until July 15.

The art show is also a major community fundraiser, supporting the work of Rotary International to the tune of more than $3 million since it began in 1964.

All works are for sale and this year the organisers from the Rotary Club of Camberwell aim to sell around 400 paintings over the 10 days, exceeding last year’s tally of 350.

The event, which carries prizes valued at $37,500, including the best in show prize of $20,000, will be held at the impressive Swinburne University of Technology steel and glass ATC Building at 441-451 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, which showcases the quality art to the highest standard.

Leading Australian boutique law firm, Parke Lawyers, is again a gold sponsor of the event and Managing Director Jim Parke says it is tremendous to think that sale of art from the show goes to support so many worthwhile community projects at local, regional, national and international levels.

“Boosting sales to 400 this year is an ambitious target, but we are confident it will be reached with the support of the community of Melbourne over the 10 days.

“The focus of the show is on providing the most professional display of art from Australia’s leading and emerging artists, and the community recognises this every year by attending the show and purchasing art.

“The ongoing success of the art show can be attributed to Rotarians and a legion of friends who volunteer their time. This ensures that all funds raised channel back into communities, making them stronger and better places to live.”

Internationally, funds raised from the show support important Rotary projects such as the eradication of polio, a Rotary program which began in 1988 and today there are only three remaining countries to be declared free of polio.

Other international support programs are helping communities in Vietnam, Cambodia and South Africa, including in the vital areas of health, education, water and agriculture.

The 2018 theme for Rotary around the world is ‘Making a Difference’ and during the past financial year, the Rotary Club of Camberwell has done this by donating more than $200,000 to community support programs at international as well as at local and regional levels.

Within Australia this work has included setting up a homeless refuge for women in Boroondara; supporting Camp Getaway near Bendigo, a rural respite camp for youth with disabilities and their carers; repairs to a hydrotherapy pool for disabled students at Belmore School; and funding for the Myeloma Foundation and the Swinburne Emergency Fund.

Other community programs the club is supporting include: Auburn House Residential Aged Care; Shining a Light on Mental Health; End Trachoma 2020; the Royal Flying Doctor program; Jesuit Social Services; Busy Feet; Friday Night School in Richmond; Swinburne Young Mums Program; Boroondara Cares Chances Scholarship; RYLA Camp; and National Youth Science in Canberra.