Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Mayoral candidate Susie Douglas says she will fast track the building of a brand new arts and performance precinct on the Gold Coast in order to prevent a possible “culture-drain” and to allow the city to come of age.

Cr Douglas has been a longtime supporter of the Gold Coast arts scene, having chaired the committee seeing to the development of the Evandale cultural precinct for the last two years, and providing support to the Surfers Paradise Festival as the division’s councilor.

“There is a burgeoning arts scene on the Gold Coast, with a hive of artists, actors, and musicians who all call this city home,” Cr Douglas says.

“It’s kind of our best-kept secret—and that’s something that needs to change.

“If we intend to keep such talent here, as well as foster new talent, we need to stop artists from feeling like they need to move to one of the east-coast capital cities in order to achieve success in their field.

“We need to build the Gold Coast’s image as a cultural hub, and I believe building the Evandale cultural precinct is the best way to show a commitment to our artists that we’re capable of doing things on the same scale as Melbourne or Sydney.”

The site at Evandale is well known already as the Arts Centre, and would feature a 2000-seat lyric theatre, a 5000m2 art gallery, cinemas and a 300 seat concert hall, amongst a number of other features.

Staff would be transitioned to other council buildings, or any new facility, over a period of time to allow for a phased and budgeted approach to the development of an arts precinct.

Cr Douglas has indicated that having this development fast tracked will be a central feature of her mayoralty if she was to be elected.

“The cultural precinct will be the coming of age for the city as it will provide a central core to our growing cultural community,” Cr Douglas says.

“The facility will significantly increase our city’s cultural capacity in this regard, and will provide much needed support to the artists that we have here.

“Ultimately, within the Evandale precinct we could have our own equivalent to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane—a cutting edge destination for lovers of both contemporary and classic art.

“As part of this initiative I will also foster strong relationships with galleries of note worldwide to ensure a steady stream of exhibitions such as the Art Gallery of NSW has achieved with their Picasso exhibition and the Queensland Art Gallery with Matisse.

“Facilities such as this will go a long way to establishing the Coast as a serious cultural destination.”

In addition to finalising the Evandale development, Cr Douglas says she will support the roster of yearly festivals, as well as developing the Coast’s own festival to show off local talent and build the city’s identity.

“Whether it’s dance music festivals like Summerfieldayze, alternative festivals like Big Day Out, more laid-back affairs like Blues on Broadbeach, or home-grown initiatives like the Surfers Paradise Festival, we have a reputation for holding world-class events on the Coast,” she says.

“We cannot disregard the importance that these festivals hold for our city, as they contribute significantly to our image as an entertainment capital and provide a substantial boost to our economy.

“I want to provide further support these events to ensure we bring them back year after year, while creating an environment where we actively encourage other such festivals to visit our city.

“In addition to this, though, I would use my position as mayor to establish a Gold Coast festival—an event that would provide a platform for artists and performers from across our entire city, as well as some drawcard names.

“We can develop an event that sees people travelling from across Queensland, from around Australia and internationally.

“Such music and arts events will add another facet to our tourism capabilities, as well as helping to expand our economy.”

Cr Douglas says now is a critical time to focus on supporting the arts.

“With the Commonwealth Games now on the agenda we need to be projecting the best image of our city possible, and having a vibrant arts and entertainment scene is one of the best ways to do this,” she says.

“It’s a vital part of our culture that we retain and foster art in our city.”

Contact Profile

Bruce Nelson

P: 0439 860 521
M: +61 (0) 423 403 449


Mayoral Candidate, Gold Coast, Susie Douglas, cultural precinct, Evan Dale, Arts Centre



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