HomeArticlesArts & CultureLifestyle NewCatalysing Creativity through Coffee on the Gold Coast – Celebrating International Coffee Day October 1
Pink Playground, Ocean Art Café & Gallery

"Pink Playground" by Gold Coast photographer Asher King, Ocean Art Café & Gallery

Catalysing Creativity through Coffee on the Gold Coast – Celebrating International Coffee Day October 1

Sam Cleveland | September 2019

Coffee shops and the arts have gone together since the first coffeehouses opened in 15th century Arabia. They were lively meeting places where orators told stories and music was played.

Centuries later the concept was exported to Venice, Vienna, Paris and London – where cafes became noisy melting pots for the literary culture of the Enlightenment.

Today, the Gold Coast’s network of up-style cafes maintains that synergy, platforming live original music from buzzy Gold Coast acts and showcasing visual art from the region.

To celebrate International Coffee Day on October 1, We are Gold Coast does the rounds of some cafes going above and beyond in support of local creatives all along the coast.

Dust Temple, Currumbin Waters

Is it too early to get Dust Temple Heritage Listed? This local icon has become the hub of southern creativity on the Gold Coast since opening about five years ago.

With its outdoor gig space, bona fide art gallery and street-fronting café unified under the distinctive design eye of co-owner John Wilson, Dust Temple is a work of industrial art itself.

The gallery hosts about eight solo exhibitions each year, plus the Dean Cogle Portrait Prize each August and Swell Smalls, a Swell Sculpture Festival spin-off event.

Co-owner Isla Wilson says her venue has always been a performance café, a place to platform and celebrate local artists and musicians.

“Instead of serving a bit of background music from a corner, we put live music front and centre,” says Wilson, whose new outdoor gig space can fit a healthy crowd. “If you’re not there to listen or view, there are plenty of other areas inside where you can sit and have a catch up.”

Dust Temple’s musical calendar features the weekly Saturday Morning Sounds (in-gallery gigs from emerging locals) as well as regular bigger ticket shows from established jazz, blues, folk and world music act.

“We’ve been thanked by artists and musicians – the storytellers of the Gold Coast – for being a space that supports them and is artist-centric,” says Isla.

HOTA Café, Evandale

HOTA Café is geared up for a summer of cruisy Friday afternoon gigs after a successful winter trial of Fridays on the Lawn. Now this ongoing gathering is gaining traction at the very heart of Evandale’s evolving Cultural Precinct

Every Friday from 4.30-7.30pm, you can cozy up with a delicious coffee or drink and listen to live music from established locals such as Alisha Todd, Elska, Harry J. Hart, Danny Widdicombe and Phoebe Sinclair.

HOTA’s Rob Loudon says Fridays on the Lawn is expected to kick up a gear over summer after receiving really positive feedback from artists.

“Everyone at HOTA is committed to supporting artists, so the team is always passing on suggestions of new artists and giving us tips about who they’ve heard on the weekend!” he says. Be sure to check out this creative café with your camera too as it includes a top sunset view of the Surfers Paradise skyline.

Ocean Art Café & Gallery, Coolangatta

To be exhibited in this respected Coolangatta gallery the rules are simple – your subject has to be the coastline from Burleigh Heads to Byron Bay.

“Nowhere’s got six beaches like these! And nowhere else can artists base themselves and produce work at locations like these,” says owner Tony Lawless of the gallery’s exclusive aesthetic.

The Ocean Art Café & Gallery café fronts Greenmount Beach; the cafe takes up the front third of the space and the gallery occupies the rest of the floorplan.
It’s the perfect space to see the Gold Coast captured in some of the best photos with a cappuccino in hand.

The gallery doesn’t do exhibitions; instead Lawless curates a steady flow of the best ocean photography from a variety of artists.

Local photographers Willem Ungermann and Asher King sell a lot of work through the gallery, where the team create prints to the highest production standards possible – suitable for hanging indoors or out.

“We sell to locals and tourists,” says Lawless. “Tourists love to take home an image of where they’ve been, that’s why we don’t have photos of the Sydney skyline up,” he laughs.

Café Catalina, Southport

Need caffeine and inspiration? Café Catalina’s waterfront spot can be your next creative cure.

“The atmosphere is perfect,” says owner Charlie Whitcombe, “there’s nothing better than live music overlooking the Broadwater while you’re kicking back…”

The Southport venue (it’s nestled next to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre) has hosted regular Friday and Sunday sessions for years, with a couple of its regular acts kick starting careers there.

“We’ve certainly helped lift the profile of a few artists,” says Whitcombe, “Phil and Tilley, a duo from the UK, arrived in 2016 and now do over 250 gigs all over Australia and are about to release their fourth record.”

Locals are well in tune with Catalina’s music schedule, says Whitcombe, with numbers always up at its two weekly gigs.

“We get at least half-a-dozen calls a day to find out who is playing and when,” he says.

“And the crowds do come. Our musicians boost business, no doubt about it.”

Sign up for weargc.com.au to learn more about new cafes catalysing creativity around the Gold Coast.

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