Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Cultural Home In The Whitsundays

A full house crowded into the Creative Hub at 3 Little Birds Espresso on a quiet Tuesday morning in Airlie Beach in late January.

This assortment of local creatives were all looking to connect and become inspired by successful Mackay artist Margaret Burgess who preached the merits of collaboration, community and culture.

The event was organised and funded by CQ RASN, the Regional Arts Service Network and CQ University, who are dedicated to invigorating the local arts community and finding avenues to help artists progress.

This workshop is the latest in the series of sessions hosted by CQ RASN.

In November a Free Sponsorship Masterclass was held during the Airlie Beach Festival Weekend and attendees heard from well-respected Marketing Manager, Zoe Ottaway, who shared her wisdom on how to create strong partnerships with sponsors.

Then, in January, Margaret Burgess gave an inspiring, informal talk on uniting artists through a variety of community initiatives.

During the workshop, she enthralled guests with a range of case studies including the Artist Collective in Canelands, Plastic Boutique and the Great Barrier Reef Festival Immerse Sculpture Project.

Coming up in the next few months is a Grant Writing and Project Development workshop which aims to give aspiring artists the tools with which to seek funding for their creative endeavours.

As part of their initiative, CQ RASN is also producing an Arts and Culture Heritage Plan for the Whitsunday Regional Council.

By conducting a series of public consultations, they are producing a report which outlines the existing cultural activities and our regional challenges to create a roadmap to boost and strengthen the local arts community.

So far, the organisation has been thrilled with the response from all their activities and is excited to see a thriving arts community here in the Whitsundays.

“Through all consultations it was identified that the Arts Sector across the Whitsundays is dynamic, self-determined and for the most part, operating independently of Council,” said the report.

CQ RASN suggests that Airlie Beach could become the only Special Entertainment Precinct in Northern Australia if a Live Entertainment/Music Precinct was present.

The report also suggests more galleries and venues would add to the general cultural offering, giving a creative ‘home’ to both large and small events.

If you would like to add a comment to the report, go to Whitsunday Regional Council’s Your Say website to participate.

Lara Russell and Wanda Bennett from CQ RASN organise a series of arts workshops in the Whitsundays. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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