With its burgeoning artwork, music and food scenes, Toowoomba is becoming an arts and culture tourism hot spot.

Along with national recognition for its rich culture, Toowoomba is attracting the attention of international artists and curators. Sharon Louden is an artist, author, educator and curator who visited with Hrag Vartarian, Co-founder and Editor in Chief of Hyperallergic, earlier in the year as a part of their international book tour. They were inspired to visit after hearing about the funding cuts to the Raygun Projects.

In an interview with ArtsHub, Louden was impressed with Toowoomba’s strong community spirit and cultural atmosphere.

“We have just been so struck by Toowoomba and its energy,” she said.

As a testament to the town’s appeal for international artists, creatives gathered at the First Coast Intl’ Art Festival from Friday, 19 May to Sunday, 21 May. The impressive line up includes Lauren Hom, a California-born, Brooklyn based designer and letterer who is known for her bright colour palettes and playful letterforms, as well as Cyrcle, a LA-based, two-man collective consisting of artists David Leavitt and David Torres.

The festival allowed the community to come together and immerse themselves in art while watching the creation of the large-scale masterpieces.

After a final celebration party headlined by Triple J Unearthed Laneway Festival winners Good Boys, the festival concluded with a program of workshops, on-site artist talks, exhibitions and events on Sunday, 21 May. By the close of this year’s event, the First Coat Outdoor Gallery will have over 100 pieces that create a colourful backdrop to the city streets. These artworks will go on to be treasured by locals and visitors.

See socials from the 2016 First Coat Art Exhibition here.