Heading down south, away from the hustle and bustle of Gold Coast life, the roads start winding along the Tweed River. Townships become reminiscent of country life and the natural landscape is more prominent even in the midst of the urban environment. There’s a real sense of resilience as well, as the community recovers from heavy rainfall and disaster events that flooded the region not that long ago. It’s within this context that a vibrant arts community is thriving, with painters, musicians, sculptors and artisans of all disciplines attaining national and international recognition for their work as they draw on the challenges the community has faced to inspire their work.
The Murwillumbah Art Trail (MAT18), held 18-27 May 2018, is riding that wave of resilient momentum. I had the pleasure of joining the organising team at the launch of this year’s event recently, at the beautiful Tweed Regional Gallery in South Murwillumbah.
The MAT18 programme this year, including Pop-Up Galleries in vacant tenancies throughout town, cocktail parties and socialite gatherings, family picnics and progressive dinners, delivers something for every kind of art lover, and the theme ‘Moving On’ lends itself local empathy while staying true to the community’s commitment to play to its cultural strengths to promote itself to the nation and the world. This year, the event has an international flair as a partnership has been struck with a collective from Canada’s Quebec, culminating in a series of events programmed including a ‘Speed Painting Dinner’ and other live painting experiences hosted by half a dozen French-Canadian artisans throughout the festival.
The evident growth of the Murwillumbah Art Trail, only a short drive from our city, adds weight to the conversation about greater collaboration between the Gold Coast and our friends to the south, and offers a compelling day trip opportunity for art loving GC locals of all ages and a unique tourism experience for visitors staying on the Gold Coast, giving good reason to extend their holidays.
You can check out the program at themurwillumbaharttrail.com