Art in the Next Dimension at Sunshine Plaza

Image source: Contributed

Art and technology will unite when six schools on the Sunshine Coast deliver a trail of interactive art installations at Sunshine Plaza. Georgia Beard reveals how the inaugural Sunshine Arts Fest propels young creatives into the art of the future. 

Across June and July 2023, eruptions of artistic expression will appear along the avenues and boardwalks of Sunshine Plaza. Each art installation harbours an alternate reality, hidden from the human eye and visible only through a screen. 

As shoppers encounter these multidimensional displays, their phone cameras will reveal a digital work of art layered over the physical – an Augmented Reality (AR). 

This exhibition marks the inaugural year of Sunshine Arts Fest, Sunshine Plaza’s high school competition challenging and celebrating the region’s creative young minds. 

Applications opened after a vibrant launch at Coco Bar, inviting all schools on the Sunshine Coast to put their best students forward. Independent judges selected six schools out of 18 applicants: Caloundra State High School, Pacific Lutheran College, Kawana Waters State College, Montessori International College, St Andrew’s Anglican College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School. 

Centre Manager Michael Manwaring said the calibre and number of submissions were exceptionally high, demonstrating a real appetite for this type of competition amongst local schools.

Creative teams of students are now tasked with developing and delivering their interpretation of this year’s theme, Let the Sunshine In. 

Each art installation must consider originality and collaboration, storytelling, visual impact, sustainability and interaction through augmented reality technology. 

The process encourages a cross-section of arts and technology departments within each school, setting students up for success when they enter a future of technological advancement.

“We know augmented reality will play an important role in shaping the careers of the future and we are therefore excited to not only showcase what the brightest creative minds in our local schools can do, but also to create an opportunity for the broader community to experience this emerging technology for themselves,” Michael said. 

Sarah Sculley, Artist Ambassador and our cover artist for this edition – brings a wealth of self-taught knowledge in arts practice and augmented reality. 

She’ll guide students through every phase of the competition, hosting two workshops with each school, developing each concept and assisting with each delivery.

“There are not many opportunities to play in this space so having a local creative competition with a generous prize pool is really exciting,” she said.
“I look forward to working with the six successful schools to showcase how AR can create a truly interactive experience for visitors to Sunshine Plaza.” 

The exhibition runs from 8 June to 23 July with an art trail map, giving visitors the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award until 17 July. 

Partnering with headspace Maroochydore, Sunshine Plaza will donate one dollar for every vote received to support local youth art programs and raise awareness of the importance of youth mental health and wellbeing.

During the Award Presentation on 19 July, judges Sarah Sculley, Hayley Jenkin from Wholehearted Studio and Ute Dittrich from headspace Maroochydore will declare the winning installation and People’s Choice Award. The winning schools will share a prize pool of $5,000!

Visit to find out more and keep up to date with Sunshine Arts Fest! More information about where to vote for the People’s Choice Award will be available at each installation. 

To discover how the AR works, download the ARTIVIVE app and try it out on our front cover artwork!



Summer 2022: Let the Sunshine in at Sunshine Plaza

Spring 2022: Being Seen at Sunshine Plaza

Winter 2022: Girls’ Day Out at Sunshine Plaza

Autumn 2022: Hello Sunshine at Sunshine Plaza!

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