With the lights turned off on our beloved gigs, festivals, exhibitions, theatres and performance venues it made us day drinkers with bad hairdos and bad attitudes – or was that just me? But 2020 wasn’t cancelled – it was simply rescheduled. 2020’s loss is 2021’s gain. And there’s a lot to love.

The Bundaberg Art Prize will be bigger and better in 2021. To be held over two weeks in September and October it’s time for artists to plan to bring their creativity to life. With categories including Works On Paper, Easel, Digital and 3D works, there’s something for all.

“Our last competition with 420 artworks by 270 artists exceeded expectations,” organiser Phil Oakley said. The winner of the main prize in 2020 was Gladstone-based artist Ping Carlyon for her work titled Be Positive, depicting the recovery from the effects of bushfire and COVID-19. It took seven months and 250 hours to complete.

Want to see what artists and the community can do during a pandemic? Look no further than the recently revealed Milbi Magic community mosaic – Fish Tales Wall at Bargara. Displaying the work of 200 volunteers and including more than 100,000 tiles, the work incorporates a QR code so you can dive into the ‘Fish Tales’ from each artist. Then follow the mosaic trail right across the Coral Coast.

For ten days from October 29, the Milbi Festival promises to be an arts spectacular deeply rooted in our First Nation culture. Celebrating our own heroes in a half shell, performances include local curation culminating in a performance parade facilitated by Australian-based Dead Puppet Society.

Talking of festivals, lock in the Childers Festival, running over four days from July 22. The only festival to close the Bruce Highway, it will include a feast of musical forms from opera to local emerging songwriters, with over 300 food and market stalls.

Local multi-arts company Creative Regions will be hosting a range of opportunities for budding artists with school-based programs, touring shows, festivals, digital projections and interactive exhibitions. Their indigenous film ‘Footprints On Country’ is being finalised for broadcast and the third podcast series is available now.

Artist Paul Perry at Archies Beach with the new mosaic installation


Michael Dart is an actor, Director of Creative Regions and member of the Playhouse Theatre.