My curiosity has now been piqued and I'm on a mission! A mission to locate as many art trails as I can, in and around the Sunshine Coast Region, showcasing local and national Australian street artists. Recently, I discovered the Downtown Caloundra Street Art Trail, a trail offering art lovers the opportunity to 'discover' nine creative works, highlighting local history and colourful stories.
Today, Coolum Beach was on our radar - the Coolum Beach Public Art Trail, to be precise. The seaside town of Coolum very proudly wears its community's creative heart of artworks on its boardwalks, along David Low Way and the Coolum Boardwalk to Point Perry.
You can start The Coolum Beach Art Trail at the Coolum Beach Hotel or at Point Perry
The Coolum Beach Public Art Trail commences at Lions Park, exactly opposite the Coolum Beach Hotel - the CBH as known to locals - on David Low Way. In total there are eleven featured works reflecting a diversity of artists, from community-initiated projects to artworks by internationally renowned artists.
The entire Art Trail is approximately a 3km round trip, which took us two hours to complete. You are probably thinking 'wow, that IS slow', but one has to factor in taking photos; stopping to admire the views; checking to see what real estate is available in Coolum and of course, stopping for the much-sought-after iced coffee en route back. It all takes time!
The Coolum Beach Public Art Trail was a slightly improved version of the one we did in Caloundra, in that the exact street address was given. We found all eleven works of art, bar one and no amount of to-ing and fro-ing would reveal the elusive artwork to us. So, if and when any of my readers decide to tackle the Coolum Beach Public Art Trail and manage to find No. 5 Ebtide at 1776 David Low Way in Coolum, the artist being Hew Chee Fong, I would love for you to let me know where it is, so that I can return to take a pic.
Here is the list of the eleven artworks that comprise the Coolum Beach Public Art Trail
The Kulum-galangur-ngarawiny artwork acknowledges the spirit of Kulum's (Coolum's) Kabi Kabi people and its Aboriginal History, whilst also reflecting its contemporary history. The work references the way Mt Coolum embraces the ocean and the sky; whilst the pink reflects the majestic sunsets often seen over Mt Coolum.
I am an absolute art fledgling, so my ramblings regarding the art are purely emotional. In saying that, I have always loved the vibrancy of Aboriginal artwork and in this case, the colour 'pink' really appeals to my 'girly' side.
2. Look Ahead 1820 David Low Way Artist: John Fuller
John Fuller's art work is inspired by coastal camping, pedestrian priority and the casual journey. It's about walking, discovering the paths in Coolum and the shortcuts, which happens more when you are on holidays or relaxing. Some people look up when they walk, some look down and, with this work, if you look ahead, you will see the potential for a new path that is a shortcut.
This fence has been reconstructed with a slight twist to create a 3D illusion of a shortcut path to the beach. It is only obvious from one point, so if you are looking up or down as you walk, you may miss noticing the possibility. A very clever optical illusion!
3. Coolum Time and Texture
1808 David Low Way
Artist: Carl Holder
Although Coolum Beach is a changing place, its original and enduring natural qualities are constant and timeless. This artwork celebrates those qualities through an indirect expression of their textures and forms in a fluid and tactile three-dimensional timber surface.
This artwork is designed to present an ever-changing, multi-layered aesthetic, which responds to changes in light, perspective and distance. Shadows created by the three-dimensional forms change as the sun passes across the distance; the interplay of light and dark appears to invoke the form of a wave rising and falling at the base of Mount Coolum. When viewed in detail, the micro textures reference the minutiae of life at the beach - rock formations, ripples in the sand and glistening reflections of water.
Thank heavens for the Sunshine Coast Council being so proactive and having plaques, that one can better understand these stunning displays of art. What I particularly loved was the vibrant shade of orange, reminding me of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful sunny region. I also love that Council has very thoughtfully provided benches along the Coolum Art Trail, allowing walkers to sit and reflect on the artwork or….on the meaning of life! Or….just to rest!
4. Coral Sea Motif
1802-1804 David Low Way
Artist: Blair McNamara
Artist Blair McNamara says "I used the universal shape of a 'fin' to tell some of my personal stories about Coolum. The background (subterranean) boards reference the traditional place-name of Coolum having 'plenty of fresh water'.
The planks also vary in dimensions and colours like a territorial brand, to express Coolum's contemporary identity threatened by over-population. We all love our town. The individual fin cut-outs represent a crowded surf and the Polynesian-styled panels below are our ancestors. The smallest fin-like shapes are the spark of grommets and our community potential. Fins or 'blanks' that sit within all of these shapes symbolise loss.
Every fin is someone I have surfed with in a now endangered Coral Sea."
1776 David Low Way
Artist: Hew Chee Fong
Ebtide was the elusive artwork, the only one we couldn't find. I reiterate, if and when, any of my readers do the Coolum Beach Art Trail, and if you are lucky enough to locate Ebtide, I would love to hear from you as to where exactly it is to be found. I did ask a few locals, who unfortunately, were as much in the dark as I was.
1784 David Low Way
Artist: Hew Chee Fong
Hew Chee Fong is a very talented Hinterland artist, who was commissioned, together with LM Noonan to produce a gateway sculpture for the completed first stage of the Coolum Beautification Project.
'Dialogue is meant to act as a focal point of welcome and to denote some of the 'special' qualities of Coolum. It is a work intentionally designed to reflect Coolum's relaxed, fun-loving and informal atmosphere. The sculpture invites the touch and exploration by young and old alike. Children especially like the interactive elements, such as the peepholes and monkey puzzle. Coolum's dramatic coastline and the power of nature provided the primary source of inspiration. The distinctive 'egg rocks' created through ceaseless tumbling on the beach over aeons and entrapped in crevices by the same pounding nature of the waves are expressed in a variety of ways in this large gateway installation. The spirit of the beachcomber is there as well, in the eroded sandcastle shapes and marine patterning in part of the work'.
While doing the Coolum Beach Art Trail, look out for 'other' artwork - you will be surprised where you find it! In fact, you might even be sitting on it!
Lucas Salton is a a glassblower from the Sunshine Coast, evidenced in the coloured glass utilised in Turtle Cove. The colour glass - in my opinion - is a depiction of the sea. I just love the cute turtles making their way to the water.
You have to constantly be on the lookout for artwork on the Coolum Boardwalk
The Coolum Beach Holiday Activities seems to be depicted in more than one piece of artwork (which makes sense to me). I am putting in a collage here, so between us, we can decide which one, if not all, are applicable.
9. Point of View
1724 Coolum Esplanade
Artist: Kim Guthrie
'This artwork subtly references the ocean via its reflective nature and undulating wave form. It also refers historically back to the seaside funfair promenade, places like Coney Island or Brighton Palace Pier and their funhouse mirrors which gives the work an interactive edge.'
My 'point of view' with this artwork is a reflection in the mirror of ever-changing holiday activities. Psst, don't let the artist know, but I could be way off track - or is that boardwalk - here.
All along the boardwalk walkers will find various artworks, not necessarily mentioned in the Art Trail map, but that are still worthy of a stop and photo opportunity.
10. Enjoy Coolum
Coolum Boardwalk to Point Perry
Artist: Clayden Potters
'Enjoy Coolum' is a collection of ceramic panels depicting unique landscapes, endemic flora and fauna and activities to enjoy. These absolutely phenomenal artworks were crafted by Clayden Potters, designed by Truda Landreth and respects the traditional owners of the Kabi Kabi.
There were so many of these beautiful panels, I am just giving you a taster with my collage.
Landscapes, flora, fauna and activities are depicted
As one nears the top of Point Perry at Wilkinson Park, The Val and Dave Simons Pavilion comes into view. This is a fantastic picnic area with views over the ocean - a great whale-watching spot too, I might add. Walkers have to go inside the Pavilion to find the Bird Panels. Point Perry can be accessed by car too.
The return journey would not be complete without a refreshing iced coffee stop - try and find the most colourful seat to sit on - I did!
The Coolum Beach Public Art Trail is a fun, FREE and easy way to enjoy the beach atmosphere along the Coolum Boardwalk, whilst taking in some local culture. With winter on its way and cooler months just around the corner, there is no better time to get out and about and take in the local sights that are on offer and keep fit in the process. This entire walk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
All images by author unless otherwise indicated
To find out more about each work, download the free council app on your smart device, look for the 'THINGS TO DO' button and open the 'VIRTUAL GALLERY'.
Enjoy the trail and share your experience on social media with #scpublicart