SWELL celebrates its 13th birthday this year and there’s no doubt it’s leaving an indelible mark on the City’s cultural landscape. As well as offering more than $25,000 in awards, the ten-day event attracts nearly 250,000 visitors and showcases local and emerging artists as well as those with significant portfolios of work behind them.
SWELL co-founder and curator Natasha Edwards said the growing reputation of the event had attracted top quality entrants from around the world.
“This year’s final selection by the curatorial panel will showcase some of the best sculptural talent on offer in Queensland, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and New Zealand,” she said.
“The open-air gallery and natural setting provides an incomparable cultural experience at any time of day”
It’s always tough navigating a festival program to work out what’s what and we like to be helpful. And how lucky are we that we get to experience some of the best sculptors in the world on one of the best beaches in the world for free?
So apart from making sure you have at least one day to explore the 50+ incredible installations along Currumbin’s foreshore and beach, there’s a few other things that should be on your radar.
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SWELL Smalls is a collection of smaller works by exhibiting SWELL artists. Held across the road from the open-air sculpture walk, SWELL Smalls Gallery provides an intimate space to explore sculpture and runs from 9.00am – 4.00pm daily during the event. Check it out at 2/792 Pacific Parade, Currumbin.
Women in GC Music
Some of the Gold Coast’s incredibly talented women will be showcased at a special event which highlights the creative partnership being fostered between SWELL and the Gold Coast Music Awards. In an afternoon of folk-flamenco fusion, Felicity Lawless will perform tunes amongst the sculptures with Gracie Hughes and others also on the bill. Women in GC Music runs 2.00 – 7.00pm on Sunday 13 September. And it’s free!
Monte Lupo Masterclass
Where else but at SWELL would you get the chance to participate in a hands-on workshop with Monte Lupo artists AND get to take your own sculpted creation home? Monte Lupo artists have captured the hearts and minds of visitors to SWELL for years – and now you can learn the very same secrets and techniques. The workshop costs $150 and there are two options on Friday 18 September: 9.00am – 12 noon or 2.00pm – 5.00pm. Bookings are essential.
Twilight Sculpture Walks
What better way to celebrate this spring event, than to do it at dusk, when the air is crisp and the sky is (hopefully) clear. As well as seeing these sculptures in a whole new light, you’ll get insight from guest curators who guide you through SWELL’s best pieces. The twilight walks are free and take place on Sunday 13 and 20 September from 5.00pm, leaving from the Alley Picnic Hut.
Singing up the Sun
Thankfully the sun needs little encouragement to rise, but there’s something special about watching it do its thing, day after day. Clara Durbidge will mesmerise SWELL goers as the sunrise brings new energy to the SWELL landscape on Saturday 12 September. She’ll explore the relationship between the rising sun and the natural environment by creating a soundscape at dawn from 5.00 – 6.00am at The Avalon.
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For more on SWELL visit SWELLsculpture.com.au.
Image: Seaball by John Wilson. Photo by KitWise