Since its foundation in 2014, First Coat Art has become one of the most exciting and productive venture on the Toowoomba artistic scene. This year First Coat, which is running on conjunction with a music festival, will be held from May 20 to 29.

“The festival showcases a diverse range of cultural offerings, with a strong focus on high quality outcomes,” says organiser Grace Dewar. “It is providing a platform for emerging artists and established creative practitioners.”

Grace says that the homegrown festival will extend on its live mural painting spectacles of the previous two years by targeting key infrastructure in prominent CBD locations.

Additionally, for the first time, satellite murals will transform the surrounding regions as a lead into the programmed events. This will underline the way geographic settings are no obstacle to cultural adventure.

The immediate success of this community-based event is clearly demonstrated by the likelihood of more than 6,000 visitors being attracted to the exhibition. The popularity of First Coat Art and Music Festival is further evidenced by the fact that over 60 artists will participate this year, which is up from 27 to begin with.

This list is headed by high profile American contemporary artist Gilbert Hsiao. Among the others contributing will be D*Face, the brilliant David Usher, Todd Francis, Jonathan Calugi, Gimiks Born, Guido van Helten, Fintan Magee, Fuzeillear, Frank and Mimi, Drapi and Treas, Melissa Grisancich, Spencer Harrison, Lisa King, Alysa Mae, Billie Justice Thomson, Thomas Jackson, David Houghton, Georgia Hill, Katie Nolier, Kitiya Palaskas, Ian McCallum, Noke, Twoone, Leona Fietz and Benedict Clark.

Further underlying the success of First Coat is the fact that public art locations will increase to around 40, from 19, musical acts will be up from three to about 30, and the number of programmed events has jumped from 14 to 25-plus.

The project has already gathered a wide range of supporters with the key partners being the Analogue Digital Agency, Grand Central and the Toowoomba Regional Council.

“When you go to other contemporary cities which have done this sort of thing you can see that is extremely good for the community,” says T.R.C. major Paul Antonio. “Now the benefits of First Coat are being seen in Toowoomba and surrounding districts.”

Words by Graeme Kelly
Images supplied by Tarn McLean

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