Nina Shadforth discovers the joy and beauty of witnessing artists at work in their creative environments as part of Open Studios Sunshine Coast.
the artist in her studio a battle and a dance paint in her ponytail brush thrown down to the calico using her bare hands and she knows this could go either way a beautiful chance her cotton curtains surfing from the windows outside at the headland a photographer captures the last light and through his lens the old man leant up on the hardwood rail steely eyes cast east brass compass on a leather string falls at his chest the portrait of a man and his beloved sea and on this fancy night he brushes up alright and in this gallery under this gentle light it’s easier to see this myriad of dreams the power that is art speaking straight to the human heart
Oftentimes I find myself looking at art and not looking ‘in’ where it is conceived and created. Yet, I really enjoy learning the backstory of an artwork, particularly the journey an artist goes on when creating artworks.
The good news is that there’s a cultural offering in the form of Open Studios Sunshine Coast coordinated and presented by Maleny-based arts collective, Arts Connect Inc., that offers anyone the opportunity to experience a world of art and taking a look inside the studios of artists to gain insights into their creations.
It is a rare and exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the creative spaces that produce stunning art from original ceramics, drawing, glass, mixed-media, painting, photography and print; to sculpture, textiles, metalwork, woodwork, jewellery, installation, printmaking and more. There is even the opportunity to purchase a piece direct from the artist and with more than 70 local artists and galleries participating you will be spoilt for choice.
Held over two weekends in March, the Open Studios program is a celebration and showcase of the many arts practitioners, including art galleries, on the Sunshine Coast. The region has long been a source of inspiration for artists to capture the iconic beauty of the Coast’s environment through a creative lens and rendering the local attributes like the Glasshouse Mountains, beautiful coastline, wildflowers, native animals and stories of Country shared by the Traditional custodians, into a variety of art forms.
Initiatives like Open Studios Sunshine Coast plugs into cultural tourism and provides a clear indication of the abundance of creatives practicing here on the Sunshine Coast.
Recent research initiated by the Sunshine Coast Arts Foundation, reported findings that validate the appetite for arts and culture in the Region with every 9 out of 10 people reporting that ‘arts and culture makes the Sunshine Coast a better place’ and that most respondents ‘attend arts events with many getting creative themselves’. If you’re like the 9 out of 10 respondents from the Audience Research survey, or simply of the ‘hands-on practical type’, there’s also the opportunity to channel your inner creative and participate in artist-run workshops!
Event Coordinator Toni Eggleston said this year’s event would be bigger than ever. “Previously, a hinterland event, we have extended the program and trail to include the whole Sunshine Coast region from Caloundra to Coolum,” she said. “This has allowed us to access a richer pool of talent and to provide a more diverse experience for visitors.
“One of the highlights, apart from meeting the artists, is how much visitors enjoy seeing the maker spaces which can be anything from a backyard shed to a converted shipping container, warehouse, gallery studio or garden retreat.
“Visitors will be fascinated by spaces from which artists explore their inspiration and create. It’s wonderful to get an insight into so many of our local artists’ lives and see the huge range of creativity that brings art to life.”
The self-guided tours provide the opportunity to meet local artists, purchase direct from the artist, participate in workshops, and gain a new appreciation for the creativity of the region’s art talent. It is also a great opportunity to see works of art and studios that are not normally available for public viewing.
In the spirit of the old proverb: ‘the proof is in the pudding’, the Open Studios is a solid and popular event that has been running for ten years – and is a ‘must-do’ for your cultural calendar!