Fine Art @ Hale talk to former Hale School Headmaster, John Inverarity and Garry Zeck, the inaugural Director of Fine Art @ Hale, about the exhibition's beginnings all those years ago.

Catalogue cover from the inaugural
Fine Art @ Hale Exhibition, 1993

A batsman, bowler, WA cricket captain, mathematics teacher, college warden and Chairman of Australian selectors, former Hale School Headmaster John Inverarity (1989–2002) is now remembered at Hale as the namesake of the school’s Music and Drama Centre.

Universally respected and admired as a sportsman, educator and leader, it was his interest in the arts, as central to his commitment to providing a genuinely liberal education, that saw the genesis of Fine Art @ Hale.

Inverarity says he wanted to grasp every opportunity he could to have quality art, music and drama on the Hale grounds as a strategy to opening eyes and creating a will within the school to strongly develop these “cultural strands”.

So in 1992, when the Old Haleians Hockey Club suggested an art exhibition to draw Hale’s old boys back to the school and encourage them to reconnect with it, he jumped at the idea.  “Having art, music and drama thriving at Hale by way of giving them special encouragement and pride of place was a prerequisite for providing a broad liberal education, to which I was committed,” he says.

“Coercing the boys into a wide range of experiences, with art, music and drama requiring special attention and encouragement, was – and still is – a necessary pillar to providing that broad liberal education.”

And so Fine Art @ Hale was conceived to support the highest ideals of education, and of life itself.  Inaugural director of Fine Art @ Hale, Garry Zeck, accepted the role of organising and curating the exhibition, and he too was clear about the role of the exhibition.

Old Haleian, Artist and Inaugural Director of Fine Art @ Hale, Garry Zeck

“I accepted on one condition,” he says. “And that was, that we were not to focus on money. What we were there to do was to create an idea for the school about art that people would want to keep coming back to.”

Now in its 27th year, Fine Art @ Hale has continued to accept the challenge of bringing the best of fine art to the school – and to the community – supporting and promoting art and culture, and creating a wonderful event for the whole Hale community to be involved in, and through which to remain connected with the school.

As both Inverarity and Zeck understood, art plays a unique role in education, inspiring creative and original thinking, benefitting many fields of endeavour.

Since Garry Zeck’s days at the helm, there have been many changes to the organisational structure of Fine Art @Hale, and many combinations of parents, teachers, artists and curators have been involved, always on a voluntary basis, and all with the desire to bring the best of Western Australian art to Hale School.

The annual exhibition is now a highly respected and much-anticipated event, supporting established and emerging artists in a unique school-based environment.  It is now run by a committee of dedicated parents with expert advice and experience, and supported by the school.

In 2017, to mark the 25th anniversary of Fine Art @ Hale, three art prizes were offered, further cementing the exhibition’s prestige and pre-eminent position among school-based invitation-only exhibitions. The committee has decided that to continue to attract the highest quality exhibitors and in a demonstration of support for the WA art community, they would continue to offer the prizes at Fine Art @ Hale for best artwork, best emerging artist and a peoples’ choice award.

Proceeds raised through the sale of art go directly to support art education at Hale through the provision of an annual scholarship for an art student; a yearly art prize and to purchase art resources and equipment. Fine Art @ Hale has also commissioned and bought substantial works of art now on display on campus.

Current Director of FA@H, Andrine Terry, discussing the genesis of the new FA@H website with inaugural Director, Garry Zeck, in his Swan Valley Studio

To continue to ensure Fine Art @ Hale gets maximum exposure among the Hale School community and among WA artists; the committee has this year taken the step of developing a new Fine Art @ Hale website.  In addition to promoting the activities of Fine Art @ Hale, this site will streamline the processes for artists to register their interest in being involved with Fine Art @ Hale; act as an archive of past exhibitions and a celebration of the achievements of Fine Art @ Hale over its history.

Fine Art @ Hale is proud of its role in bringing the highest quality WA art to Hale School, challenging boys to consider their creative perspective on their world; continuing to pursue headmaster Inverarity’s ambition of providing an excellent and genuinely liberal education, and building a stronger Hale community.

Fine Art @ Hale, Memorial Hall, Hale School, 2nd – 4th August, 2019