Arts Connect Inc’s 13th annual competition, Sculpture on the Edge, has transformed into an 18-day sensory extravaganza centred around the existing art contest. Now an art festival, the event aims to engage people of all ages and skill levels in creative exploration. Last year’s move to Flaxton Gardens and the addition of indoor and outdoor sculptures catalysed this evolution.

Festival director Gretchen Keelty says due to the immense popularity of last year’s workshops and artist talks, they have expanded the program into a full-fledged festival.

Workshops primarily focus on sculpture, featuring notable artists and schools, including Monte Lupo, Janna Pameijer, Laine Cooper-Taverne, Paintbox Art School and Cam Crossley. These offerings extend to painting, experimental drawing and more, fostering diverse creative experiences. Jinibara elder BJ Murphy leads enriching workshops on clapstick making, ochre painting and cultural exploration.

The festival also introduces masterclasses and professional development sessions for established artists, while providing workshops for kids and light-hearted Sip and Sculpt evenings. The Sculpted Dinner on December 2, curated by food stylist Jaime Reyes in collaboration with Flaxton Gardens, promises a unique culinary delight.

Internationally acclaimed avant-garde multimedia artist, Justene Williams, will be delivering a one-off performance, which will be a highlight in the rich and diverse program.

Central to the festivities remains Arts Connect Inc’s sculpture competition. Esteemed judges include Michael Brennan from Noosa Regional Gallery, Justene Williams, and sculptor and lecturer Mikala Dwyer.

The competition’s prestige is matched by a $22,000 prize pool, supported by local small businesses. Flaxton Gardens donates the $10,000 first prize, with the De Deyne family sponsoring the $5000 Highly Commended Prize and Illume Creations offering $2,000 for the Local Artist’s Prize.

The Recycled/Reclaimed/Repurposed category winner will receive a $2000 prize from The Opalcutter, and the $1000 Artists’ Choice Peer Award, determined by fellow finalists, debuts courtesy of Tina Cooper Glass Gallery. The Emerging Artist prize of $1000 is co-sponsored by Montville Art Gallery and Bodo Muche Studio, while the People’s Choice Artist Award of $1000 is supported by Hammond Optometry and Montville Chamber of Commerce. Voters in the People’s Choice category have a chance to win a luxury escape for two at Lovestone Cottages in Montville.

Ms Keelty says this year, there is a diverse pool of entries.

“For this year’s competition, we are seeing lots of local entries as well as interstate, and some interest from overseas.

“The team of curators will have a tough job selecting finalists and choosing where and how to display them, but they are committed to providing visitors with the best experience possible and showcasing each finalist piece to the best of their potential.”

The 18 days of Sculpture on the Edge marks a significant portion of the Sunshine Coast’s cultural calendar. The Sunshine Coast Council’s Major Event Grants program and local councillor support, alongside Telstra’s sponsorship for enhanced connectivity, underscore the festival’s importance in fostering artistic opportunities and showcasing the Sunshine Coast’s creative profile.

Local produce will be showcased from Piggy in the Middle, CC’s Kitchen, Chocolate Country, Mountaintop Mushrooms and Kenilworth Dairies, and event partners Sunshine and Sons and Matso’s, who were in-kind sponsors last year.

Flaxton Gardens will have breakfast available from 8am. Guests can order from a light garden menu that can be served on the verandah or picnic-style.

Visitors can treat themselves to a seasonal set menu and finish with Flaxton’s famous raspberry soufflé. The lobster and bubbles speciality is also there for those who want to experience the full dining art experience on a special day out, but you need to book in advance.

Follow your art to the hinterland!  Sculpture on the Edge will be an 18-day deeply immersive and inclusive art experience for attendees of all ages and abilities.


Sculpture on the Edge

November 23 – December 10
Open 8am – 4pm daily at Flaxton Gardens
Adults $10, concession $5, children school age or younger are free.
Key dates for Sculpture on the Edge 2023
Doors open to the public: Thursday, November 23
Official opening and announcements: Friday, November 24
Sculpted dinner: Saturday, December 2
Closing: Sunday, December 10.

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