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Kiel Tillman

Kiel Tillman is the Owner and Creative Director of Tillman Creative Co, a contemporary brand and design studio based in Burleigh

Gold Coast initiatives ignite creativity

Natalie O'Driscoll | September 2019

It’s no secret the Gold Coast arts and culture scene is thriving.

From nationally recognised events like Blues on Broadbeach to some of the smaller grassroots art spaces, we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the initiatives sparking creativity among our local artists and supporting the emerging cultural landscape.

Cindy Hamrey runs POT studios, a pottery school and shared studiospace in Tugun. To her, incubating local talent is what it’s all about.

“I think everyone is creative if they are given the tools to be creative,” she says. Cindy believes Gold Coast’s geography inspires artists in itself.

“We usually think of the Gold Coast as one large city, however I think of the Gold Coast as a community of small villages where we come together to support each other, create together, celebrate art, food, village life and our gorgeous beach. I think a thriving village community is a perfect place to nurture a creative lifestyle.”

Mark Duckworth, Festival Director of the immensely popular Blues on Broadbeach and Groundwater Country Music Festivals, is also a great supporter of Gold Coast artists.

“Even though we are running national festivals, it is important to support local music and we aim for 25% per event,” he explains.

“We also get to engage with local artists and work on artwork for the festivals’ looks. In recent years we have worked with Kiel Tillman to help us rebrand Groundwater Country Music Festival. Kiel is one on my favourite local artists and it gives me great satisfaction having amazing local talent to work with.”

Kiel is the Owner and Creative Director of Tillman Creative Co, a contemporary brand and design studio based in Burleigh. As an artist who straddles the worlds of personal and professional creativity, Kiel has been exposed to a range of different options when it comes to showcasing his talents.

“I feel like there are a lot more opportunities to produce creative work, but still in a commercial sense. I think the Gold Coast is starting to embrace that a lot more.”

Mark agrees, particularly when it comes to local musicians.

“I’ve noticed more acceptance towards the power of arts and culture at a higher level within the city,” he says.

“The efforts being made by the City of Gold Coast with the Music Action Plan 2019-2021 shows great leadership in keeping professional musicians on the Gold Coast.”

This Music Action Plan 2019-2021 (MAP 2021) includes programs aimed at developing the skills of artists and professionals in the music industry. It is a framework developed to drive live music and partnerships, whilst re-building the Gold Coast’s reputation as a music city.

Other City initiatives include the regular grants supplied by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), which support various arts projects and programs on the Gold Coast. Local emerging artist Adrienne Kenafake is a recent recipient.

“For the size and cultural infancy of the Gold Coast, I think the artist-to-opportunity ratio is very high,” she says.

Adrienne has also been supported through programs at innovative art space, The Walls in Miami; the City libraries program, 11th Avenue Creative; and through the HOTA (Home of the Arts) Creative Development Program for local artists. The Creative Development Program provides space, peer support and an incredible $200,000 for local artistic projects.

Adrienne has found all of the support invaluable.

“Being involved in events and openings has been the most beneficial experience. The relationships you develop with peers and mentors make for the strongest support – a community of friends!

“The Gold Coast is a young and developing city with a small, but eager arts and music community. It’s a close-knit group so everyone is very supportive of each other. It’s like a family.”

There are many more private spaces doing fantastic things that nurture the local arts community, such as Dust Temple Currumbin, Gallery One and Artable – just to name a few. And with the continuing upwards trajectory of Gold Coast’s cultural scene, we are sure to see even more. Watch this space.

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