The 50th birthday of the Riversdale Arts Mixed Media Exhibition is more than just celebrating a longstanding event in the community, Christine O’Connor says.

The exhibition opened on Friday night after a celebration lunch at which Mrs O’Connor was made a life member of the committee.

The exhibition was also a celebration of different groups working together, Mrs O’Connor said.

‘‘It involves so many people in the community.’’

Groups including the Balfour Home and School, Riversdale Lions Club and Riversdale School Home and School helped with the event.

‘‘Over a thousand people have been through already.

“It seems to be reaching out and getting new people as well,’’ she said.

‘‘[We’re] very excited with how it’s been going.’’

Ten guest artists were part of the event this year, including Odelle Morshuis from Cromwell, who created a sculpture for the event’s 50th anniversary.

The piece, Community-Hapori, is a nine-figured sculpture created from steel ranging from 1.3m to 1.9m high.

The sculpture, which was installed outside the Riversdale Community Centre, was unveiled on Friday night.

Schools and preschools also had displays of art work.

Long-service awards were also presented to Debbie Allan, Margaret McLennan, Marianne Williams and Carol McKee.

Favourite . . . Monica Jenkins of Otama admires a Jo Midgley painting of two owls called Just Curious. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON
Winner. . . Riversdale Arts committee member Jann Robertson was the best member artist with her spray paint stencil of Mona Lisa. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON
Handiwork. . . Long serving Riversdale Arts committee members Margaret McLennan (left) and Lesley Clarke discuss Tanith Krystle of Christchurch’s Forged in Fire, jewellery hand stitched to velvet exhibit. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Mrs McLennan went to the meeting in 1974 when the idea of an exhibition was suggested.

‘‘There were a lot of people there — over 30 at the meeting and over 30 apologies.’’

She was part of the committee which started the exhibition.

The first exhibition was held in the supper room of the former Riversdale Drill Hall.

The event grew in popularity as the years passed, Mrs McLennan said.

The art classes the group hosted were also popular.

‘‘I did love the classes.’’

Committee member Lesley Clarke had also been part of the committee for more than 35 years.

The exhibition had grown because there was something for everyone in it, Mrs Clarke said.

‘‘It’s got a wide variety of art.’’

While she was not good at art she enjoyed being part of the committee.

‘‘Everyone finds a niche.’’

The exhibition finishes on Sunday.