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​The Sunshine Coast offers many great reasons for visitors to visit the region and – just as importantly – to return on multiple occasions. Perhaps one of our lesser appreciated – but highly influential – attractions is our rich and dynamic arts scene, that recently received a further boost through the launch of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery Trail.

Anyone who has looked at the Glass House Mountains from the deck of the Mary Cairncross Centre will know how seductive our landscape is for painters. You can almost feel the artistic energy rising from the volcanic soils.

Tony Gill, Councillor Rick Baberowski and the many other promoters of Sunshine Coast art deserve huge commendation for working collaboratively to build our region’s reputation in the arts space.

The Art Gallery Trail complements signature events such as the Horizon Festival of Arts & Culture, and the annual Sunshine Coast Art Prize, which now carries a $25,000 winner’s purse, making it one of the most substantial regional art prizes in Australia.

Events like these highlight the depth of attractions on offer on the Sunshine Coast. Visitors might come for the beaches, but if they know there is a vibrant arts and food scene just thirty minutes away it will certainly help us persuade more Australians to choose the Sunshine Coast over and above the many competing coastal destinations.

What is also impressive with our arts scene is the many workshops and immersive experiences available to visitors. Take, for instance, Cathy Lawler’s Fried Mudd studio in Maleny. Couples, friends and groups come from all over Australia specifically for her pottery sessions to get their hands dirty – literally. It is indicative of a new generation of travellers who don’t just want to look, but who want to participate in and fully experience the destination.

The same could be said for our cooking schools, whether it is creating an Asian masterpiece at Spirit House, or taking part in a spice blending masterclass at Caloundra’s Red Hot Chilli Pepper.

When you look out at our incredible beaches it’s easy to think “what more do we need?”, but visit some of our wonderful galleries and view their exceptional art, and you’ll understand why the Sunshine Coast has so much more to offer discerning travellers these days.


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