MARYVILLE painter Leah Fawthrop will honour her late sister’s life at Art Bazaar today with the help of the Newcastle art community.

Artists Peter Lankas, Miranda Earle and Justin Montefiore are among 50 creative Novocastrians who have designed Christmas decorations and cards for the launch of Marion’s Artree in Civic Park.

More than 300 Christmas decorations will swing from the trees in the popular inner-city destination as part of the event.

Proceeds from the works will go towards research and support for Meniere’s disease.

Ms Fawthrop’s older sister, Marion, took her life at 49 after battling the disease of the middle ear for almost 10 years.

The disease affects hearing and balance, and causes vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss.

“No one really knows about it and I think people don’t understand the impact it has on someone’s ability to live a normal life,” Ms Fawthrop said.

“We lost my sister just over five years ago. It got to the point where she just couldn’t cope any more. It can be hard for sufferers to ask for help.”

Ms Fawthrop plans to launch more Marion’s Artrees in galleries across Australia following the Summer Art Bazaar event today, from 9am to 3pm.

More than 130 stallholders will take part in Art Bazaar, the 11th held at Civic Park, Newcastle.

More than 8000 people are expected to attend the event.

About 50,000 Australians are affected by Meniere’s disease and symptoms become pronounced in those aged between 30 and 55.

Professor William Gibson, from The University of Sydney medical school, will attend Newcastle’s Art Bazaar to help make Marion’s Artree a success.

“I would like to stress how horrid the condition can become,” he said.

“It causes unpredictable attacks of vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and often people are unable to continue to work or even leave the house. We urgently need a cure or even a more effective way of treating the condition.”