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12 July, 2021

Cyclone prompts art fest at Airlie Beach

JESS BUGEJA saw the need to revive an interest for the arts in the Whitsunday Region after the entertainment centre was damaged by Cyclone Debbie. The President of the upcoming Whitsunday Art Festival said very little happens now in the Whitsunday region for the arts. “This is because there’s no art gallery and we haven't had a performance in the entertainment centre, which was damaged because of Cyclone Debbie,” Mrs Bugeja said.


JESS BUGEJA saw the need to revive an interest for the arts in the Whitsunday Region after the entertainment centre was damaged by Cyclone Debbie.

 The President of the upcoming Whitsunday Art Festival said very little happens now in the Whitsunday region for the arts. “This is because there’s no art gallery and we haven't had a performance in the entertainment centre, which was damaged because of Cyclone Debbie,” Mrs Bugeja said. “Why it started was because this region has a lot of talented artists, who have a desire for art events in the region.

 “A couple of us who have experience putting on events before, got together and said ‘let’s see we if we can make something happen for the arts in this region’.” Mrs Bugeja’s hope is this would generate interest among tourists across Australia, which would result in a huge turnout. “A lot of people who are tourists, are now cultural tourists: they’re very interested and purchase, see and enjoy performing arts,” she said. This need and desire for the arts made Mrs Bugeja realise the festival could also promote the beauty of the Whitsunday region.

 “The theme of this year’s festival is on place, which is how you are affected by the place you live in, how you feel and what your place is in the location of where you are. “However, it’s a big interpretation and is up to the artist to decide.” She said she approached the Whitsunday Regional Council for support, but also support from other organisations as well.

The council provided the festival with an arts prize, which is an acquisition prize of $5000, in addition to financial support. “We approached the Council and this year we’re initiating an arts prize, where we are basing it on the Sunshine Coast’s art prize, which is very prestigious. 

“The Council itself is beginning to start an art collection. Hopefully, we can continue this in years to come. A lot of beautiful buildings are going up in the region.” The Whitsunday Arts Festival runs from September 17 to 19 and will be based at the Airlie Beach Foreshore.

 It is sure to be a great event, with plenty of exciting family-friendly activities  


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