The first Art Show was held in 1966 at Camberwell Grammar School featuring 1042 artworks.
One of the principal objectives then was the acquisition of artworks as a basis for a collection for the City of Camberwell (now City of Boroondara) and its citizens.
In 1969, the Art Show moved its location and featured in the official launch of the new Camberwell Town Hall with 1357 works.
By 1972, the Art Show had over 2,000 entries. In that year Study Grant Prize was instituted and David Taylor, whose works are now well regarded, was the first winner. The Art Show’s entries peaked at over 4,000 in 1983.
By 1990, over 50 artworks had been donated to the City of Camberwell and the Rotary Club of Camberwell was awarded Rotary Internationals District ‘Significant Achievement Award’ for its running of the show.
The City of Boroondara has supported the Art Show since its inception. Following the demise of the Herald Outdoor Art Show, in 1999 The Herald-Sun became the art show’s major sponsor until 2020. The Rotary Club of Camberwell is appreciative of the support of Swinburne University as the major sponsor of the Camberwell Art Show.
In 2013 the Art Show moved to the Swinburne University Advanced Technologies building in Hawthorn with its massive glass edifice and impressive facilities.
The online entry of art enables the selection and assessing of all works by viewing images and deciding which works will be invited to exhibit at each Art Show. This process has built a strong relationship with artists and customers as well as continuing to enhance the status of the Camberwell Art Show as one of Australia’s leading art shows.
The success of the Art Show can be attributed to the quality and range of artwork and the many corporate sponsors, Rotary Club members plus a legion of friends who volunteer their time to ensure it remains the premier event on Melbourne’s art calendar.
Since its inception in excess of $3 million has been raised to support Camberwell Rotary Club’s local, national and international humanitarian projects.