Following the announcement of the $10,000 first prize, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery has experienced a surge in submissions for the South Western Times Art 2020 exhibition.

When entries closed on Friday, BRAG director Jo Baitz said she had received 95 submissions, a 25 per cent increase since the prize announcement was made.

“We’re thrilled and I think it’s a great selection,” she said.

“I think we have attracted more of the serious artists and raised the profile of the exhibition back to what it should be.”

Two of those “more serious artists” included Tony and Merle Davis who have both made submissions to be a part of the exhibition.

As part of the submission process, artists were required to complete a bio, a description of the work including its dimensions, up to six images of the work to be submitted and an entry form.

With such a high number of submissions, Dr Baitz said the exhibition’s curator Lee Kinsella was now sorting through the submissions to decide which ones would feature come the February launch.

“She has a vision for the exhibition and the story she wants to tell,” Dr Baitz said.

“That story itself is about this moment of time, playing on the idea of 2020 and sense of place.”

Dr Baitz said she expected about 50 of the 95 submissions to be featured in the exhibition, which will be launched on Valentine’s Day with a big street party celebrating both the exhibition and coinciding with the 33rd anniversary of BRAG.

“We’re very proud to be a part of this region and to represent our artists and to provide an exhibition that focuses on the South West,” she said

The exhibition will run for two months until April 19 while the winner will be given their own exhibition at a later date.