Whitsundays Arts Festival committee (from left) treasurer Tom Casey, president Cathy Knezevic with sponsor Bendigo Bank's mascot, Bendigo Bank chairman Mark Henry and branch manager Tiff Deakes.
Whitsundays Arts Festival committee (from left) treasurer Tom Casey, president Cathy Knezevic with sponsor Bendigo Bank's mascot, Bendigo Bank chairman Mark Henry and branch manager Tiff Deakes. Contributed

Art festival to be 'first of its kind' for Whitsundays

A REGION-WIDE arts festival celebrating all kinds of art is due to take place next October.

Centred on the Airlie Beach foreshore, but with events taking place all over the region, the Whitsundays Arts Festival 2020 is thought to be the first of its kind ever held in the Whitsundays.

The region will come to life with sculptures, fine arts, photography, live music, cabaret theatre and markets featuring local food and handmade goods.

A lantern parade will light up the opening night, as local students show off their homemade lanterns, and local artists will create large, colourful images to the backdrop of the Melbourne group Drum Out.

The festival finale will be held in a sugarcane field, near Proserpine.

The festival is the brainchild of Whitsunday residents Jess Begun and Cathy Knezevic, supported by a hardworking committee.

Ms Knezevic is an arts administrator with extensive experience curating and running exhibitions at Artspace Mackay, among other things.

She has an art gallery at her home, in Cannon Valley, representing some of the best artists in North Queensland.

Ms Begun, meanwhile, has helped to organise a lot of events and festivals, including the Fire Event at the Woodford Folk Festival, and food festivals featuring local produce, on the Sunshine Coast.

Ms Begun said the aim of the festival was to bring all Whitsundays artists together.

"Our dream is to find all the gems who are around and put it all together, instead of people feeling isolated and unappreciated," she said.

"We want people to be involved, and we realise there are lots of artworks being made all over the region and we want the artists to participate in the festival workshops, aimed at engaging, educating and challenging participants.

"We are also going into the schools to do workshops with the children, and there will be events all over the whole region including Bowen, Collinsville and Proserpine, as well as Airlie Beach."

Fairy Tree Park, next to the Airlie Creek, will be dotted with large sculptures amongst the trees.

Renowned Queensland artist Sue Ryan, of GhostNets Australia, will work with community members to create artworks and major environmental sculptures.

"Sue holds exhibitions all over the world," continued Ms Begun.

"She will hold sculpture workshops using marine and other kinds of debris and they will be suspended from the trees.

"Our theme for the Whitsundays Arts Festival 2020 is Art Environment to reflect how the environment can influence and inspire artists, and how art can inform people about the environment."

For more information and how to become involved with the Whitsundays Arts Festival 2020, which will take place on October 2-4, visit www.whitsundaysartsfestival.org.


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