The Whitsunday art scene will be thrust into the spotlight this weekend as song, dance and sculpture take to the Airlie Beach foreshore.
The inaugural Whitsundays Arts Festival kicks off on Saturday with a packed three-day calendar full of creativity.
The festival was the brainchild of a group of passionate volunteers who wanted to celebrate local art and give residents the chance to explore the potential of the Whitsunday art scene.
The theme of the festival is ‘Art < > Science’, which secretary Jess Begun said would be clear in resident artist Sue Ryan’s installation using marine debris collected from beaches across Queensland.
The work will be suspended at Fairy Tree Park throughout the course of the weekend, which is also the location of various other events including drumming workshops, wearable art exhibitions and painting, weaving and photography workshops.
About 690 students in Year 5 and 6 across eight Whitsunday schools have also been hard at work creating lanterns that will form the centrepieces of a lantern parade on Saturday night.
Ms Begun said the whole weekend would provide a unique art opportunity for residents and visitors that had never been on offer in the region before.
“People just have commented to us that they were hoping there would be activities like this for them to do to be part of something creative and use skills that they have,” she said.
“This is a celebration of art.”
The program runs from 3.30pm Saturday with the lantern parade set to begin at 6.15pm.
The event schedule on Sunday involves ticketed workshops from 9am to 4pm with entertainment on stage from noon.
The festival is rounded out on Monday afternoon with a cabaret event featuring renowned performer Kurt Phelan.
While coronavirus threw the event’s future into doubt earlier this year, Ms Begun said volunteers vowed to push forward.
“It was very complicated,” she said.
“COVID was a bit scary … we didn’t know whether we had the money, the schools weren’t open, it wasn’t looking good.”
However, the recent easing of restrictions means the festival is proceeding full steam ahead with even more numbers than originally anticipated.
“We’re in such good shape,” Ms Begun said.
“It’s going to be really amazing.”
For more information on the festival, click here.
Source: Whitsunday Times.