The inaugural Whitsundays Arts Festival has received a welcome boost with funding from Whitsunday Regional Council. Pictured on the Airlie Foreshore discussing the plans for the festival, in October, are, from left: Tom Casey, Cathy Knezevic, Mayor Andrew Willcox and Jess Begun.
The inaugural Whitsundays Arts Festival has received a welcome boost with funding from Whitsunday Regional Council. Pictured on the Airlie Foreshore discussing the plans for the festival, in October, are, from left: Tom Casey, Cathy Knezevic, Mayor Andrew Willcox and Jess Begun.

Inaugural Whitsundays Arts Festival receives welcome boost

THE inaugural Whitsundays Arts Festival has received a welcome boost with a cash injection of $15,000.

The money has come from a community development grant, from Whitsunday Regional Council, which recognises the benefits to the community of a new, vibrant arts festival in the region.

The event - due to be held from October 2 to 4, 2020, on the Airlie Beach foreshore - is gathering momentum with plans for not only art exhibitions by local artists but also sculptural installations, woven decorations, drumming workshops, craft demonstrations and live music.

There will also be lantern-making workshops, culminating in the opening night lantern parade along the foreshore.

The Whitsundays Arts Festival committee was established in January 2019 by arts and cultural coordinator Cathy Knezevic, who has worked in the arts industry for the past 30 years as art exhibition curator and project coordinator, art collection and touring exhibitions manager for Mackay Regional Council.

Committee secretary Jess Begun, meanwhile, was a member of the Woodford Folk Festival fire event production team, program coordinator for the Real Food Festival, in Maleny, and is an independent documentary film maker and ceramicist.

Treasurer Tom Casey is an award-winning Queenslander builder and heritage renovation specialist.

Ms Begun, who is also festival manager, said the support committee of artists and community members, from all over the region, was working hard with Queensland artists to create "a magnificent, joyful celebration of the diversity of arts in our region".

"Local artists will work with renowned Atherton Tablelands sculptor Sue Ryan, director of GhostNets Australia, to produce the featured sculptural installation made from marine and other debris," Ms Begun said.

"As well, renowned Townsville artist Marion Gaemers, who is currently part of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) exhibition, will work with fabric artists to create woven decorations for the festival site.

"Schools throughout the region will enjoy in-school lantern making workshops with a local team of artists, who will also run workshops open to the public, prior to the festival, and Melbourne based group DrumOut will teach percussion arts, including how to make drums from recycled materials and drumming technique.

"Local artists will be encouraged to create art exhibitions and there will be artworks from many disciplines. The public will have hands-on encounters with local artists and observe demonstrations of crafts in the handmade market."

For more information and ways to participate visit: www.whitsundaysartsfestival.org or email info@whitsundaysartsfestival.org or follow the Facebook page.