From it’s maiden attempt featuring a good number of landscapes and imitations from life, the annual “Art for all” expo has matured into a richer affair showcasing a wider range of contemporary themes and techniques, in it’s third year — proof perhaps of its progress in converting curious onlookers into connoisseurs of art.

The two-day event by CARE School of Architecture that concluded on Sunday presented a better selection of works than seen in previous editions. Although the numbers have dwindled, the quality of the fare on display was noteworthy, given the city’s dearth of art expositions. While allotting space for students and amateurs, the event had roped in professionals from various parts of Tamil Nadu, who made their presence felt through works created using multiple mediums – charcoal, pen and ink, water colours, acrylic and oil colours.

“The principal aim is to educate people here that there are such art works out there. The event is an initial exposure to the availability of art at hand,” says Vijaykumar Sengottuvelan, director, CARE School of Architecture.

The expo not only featured slices of rustic life, mythological interpretations, and temples (guaranteed the city they are showcased in), but also a good number of “modern” art, besides creative use of technique.

From it’s first venture where works where priced between Rs. 500 and Rs. 5,000, the event at Kalaignar Arivalayam has attempted to raise the price bracket of the paintings, including works costing up to Rs. 60,000.

In a city known for it’s conservative spending tastes, addressing the need to make art commercially viable, besides forming aesthetic tastes, has been necessary, say organisers. Ensuring it’s aim of making art seem less like an elitist predilection, the team has replicated sketches by artist Mark and architect Belinda into utility items, making for bed-sheets, cushion covers, and cloth bags imprinted with line paintings, besides batik covered stationery. Although produced in limited numbers, these were arguably popular as they were sold out by the end of the day.

The event that featured close to 40 artistes from the State, including Chennai and Coimbatore, had a few to represent the city — Ravilaks, Eugene D’ Vaz, Village Mookaiyah, Manikavasagam, Chinnappa, Sivakumar and architect Belinda. This time around the annual exhibition had filled out into a full-fledged art festival with performances and workshops in storytelling, bommalattam and street theatre.

Pavunkunju, a street play by the Chennai Kalai Kuzhu headed by Pralayan, bommalattam by Kumbakonam-based troupe, and storytelling session by Eric Miller, founder, World Storytelling Institute, were part of the final day’s agenda. The expansion efforts were part of the school’s initiative in cultural mapping of the Cauvery delta landscape, with a view to archive existing art and cultural traditions in the region, said Mr. Vijaykumar.