In the Maker Space for Open Studios Sunshine Coast

Image source: Contributed

From coast to hinterland, explore the creative spaces where local artists are bringing the region’s diverse art landscape to life during Open Studios Sunshine Coast 2023, as Georgia Beard discovers. 

An artist’s body of work doesn’t take shape in galleries alone. Artists seek inspiration in worlds we don’t often get to see – secluded in rural sanctuaries, thriving in the mayhem of family homes or en plein air (French for the act of painting outdoors).

Their private studios and living spaces are the epicentres of artistic expression – and we are invited to witness their creative spaces first-hand during Open Studios Sunshine Coast 2023. 

Hosted over two weekends from 20 to 28 May, artists from all disciplines and mediums will open their doors to the public. Across seven local art trails, we can discover their artistic practice, spark conversations, take part in creative workshops and come away with an original piece or two!

Last year’s nine-day event attracted 130 visitors per studio across 74 studios and approximately $215,000 in art sales! 

This year, the Art Trail welcomes 43 new artists and galleries exhibiting their collections for a fresh influx of tourists, locals, artists and art collectors.

With routes along the Coast Art Trail and the Hinterland Art Trail, Open Studios meanders across the Sunshine Coast offering the chance to explore the region and meet its artists in-situ. 

As you embark on your self-guided tour, roam down forgotten backstreets, get lost in suburban landscapes and disappear into the hills where artists are quietly honing their craft. 

You might catch an artist in the act of creation – splattering paint on a canvas, sculpting clay on a pottery wheel or welding and whittling recycled materials into something originally evocative. 

Observing artists in their element gives us a better understanding and appreciation of the creative process and how inspiration is brought to life. 

In some studios, workspaces transform into galleries for visitors to encounter an artist’s new collection or admire their life’s work. 

If you feel connected to a piece, you can purchase it direct from the artist!

Open Studios Sunshine Coast Coordinator Jen Braithwaite said the experience of an art studio offered visitors more than just a glimpse behind the scenes. 

“It’s a chance to learn the true value of our local art industry,” she said. 

“We envisage the visitors’ experience to be a rich, diverse and immersive experience that is educational, informative, connecting and social.”

This year, committee members at Arts Connect Inc. have curated a smorgasbord of artists and galleries, both new and recurring. 

There are also a number of galleries participating including Sunshine Coast Art and Framing GalleryYandina Historic House & GalleryAlice West GalleryArt School Co GalleryCaloundra Regional Gallery2nd Space, Spiral Visual Arts Studio and Montville Art Gallery.

Sunshine Coast Art and Framing Gallery is also set to offer creative workshops from their space on the Mooloolaba/Sippy Downs Trail including Paper Carving and Printing with Grace Hermann; Watercolour and Acrylic Floral/Botanicals with Sharon Hegarty; Earring Clay with Sharon Conboy; Journal and Book Binding with Dale Botha; Pastels with Carole Oakley; and even Art-Themed Biscuit Decorating with Renee at Daisy Cake and Bake.

Along the Coolum/Mudjimba Trail, step inside metalworker Jules McCrae’s studio and blacksmithing workshop or visit Talking Feet Studio and Studio Six Art. 

Celebrate the Immanuel Arts Festival on the Maroochydore/Buderim Trail alongside Alice West’s workshop space and gallery of whimsical, nature-inspired paintings. 

In Caloundra, discover Damien Lange’s artisanal, ocean-inspired installations and paintings or Karan Gerard’s impressionist watercolours of natural environments. 

The Hinterland Art Trail begins in the Yandina Historic House Art Gallery, highlighting a selection of artworks while offering Devonshire tea and light refreshments from the café between 9.30am and 2.30pm each day. 

Across the Montville Art Trail and surrounds, unearth Sue Neale’s abstract, feather-based wall art; Robert Natoli’s mixed-media studio and ceramics workshop; or Liz Pepper’s expressive paintings of imperfect realism.

The ArtsCoast and Sunshine Coast Council initiative 2ND Space will also invite visitors to explore their artists in residence for Project 24 and co-working studios incubating a variety of creative projects.

Nestled along the Maleny and Landsborough/Glasshouse Art Trails, visit The Joy Collective’s creative co-working and gallery space for workshops and exhibitions; explore the studio of figurative sculptural artist David Bongiorno; or nature-based oil painter Marcel Desbiens. 

“This opportunity comes once a year in our area,” Jen said. “We are passionate about bringing arts to the awareness of our community, connecting us all and lifting those emerging and established to enhance their experience.”

Pick up the 2023 Art Trail Guide from Sunshine Coast Art and Framing Gallery and Yandina Historic House Art Gallery. 

Discover all the updated outlets or view the Guide and artist profiles at www.openstudiossunshinecoast.com.au 

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