More than 70 artists will throw open the doors to their coastal or hinterland studio hideaways as part of this year’s Open Studios Sunshine Coast, which kicks off on March 18.

Locals and visitors will be able to glimpse inside the artists’ creative spaces, which range from backyard sheds to shipping containers, warehouses, gallery studios and some glorious garden retreats.

“Visitors delight in being able to connect and communicate directly with the artists and to see the diversity of talent tucked away,” says Gretchen Keelty, the president of Arts Connect Inc, which co-ordinates the Open Studios initiative.

“This year’s registrants include ceramicists, painters, printmakers, jewellers, textile artists, woodworkers, photographers and sculptors. It’s an opportunity for the public to access the normally private creative space where artists find their inspiration, experiment and conceive new works. It’s a special experience. 

“We find visitors come to the region to stay across the two weekends and really immerse themselves in the program.”

The program runs across two weekends, and part of the Open Studios experience is meandering across the scenic coastline art trails on the first weekend and the lush hinterland trails on the second. The Coastal Trail is on March 19-20 with the Hinterland Trail from March 26-27. 

In between, the five weekdays of numerous hands-on workshops afford participants the opportunity to learn new skills, express their own creativity and engage directly with artists. As a form of cultural tourism, the support to the arts and greater community is priceless.

To get started, collect a copy of the Art Trail Guide to plan your days. This year’s cover features the work of Margaret Ellen Turner, a highly acclaimed Sunshine Coast artist who will be participating in the event. Guides are available at visitor information centres, Sunshine Coast Airport, art galleries and local cafes and businesses. You can also access the trail guide and download a trail planner online.

Open Studios Sunshine Coast was established in 2010 and is supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s grant program and local sponsors.

Visit openstudiossunshinecoast.com.au.

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