The Gold Coast Art Scene

I took a little poll: Where should I go to see some art?

The big answer: Brisbane. 

I was not happy with that so I did a little digging. Guess what I found out,


…and they are free! 

I am delighted to tell you that I spent the afternoon trolling around 3 art galleries all within 15 minutes of each other!

Put your culture pants on people, It’s about to get artsy! 


My first stop, 19Karen in Mermaid Beach. 

19Karen is just a touch south of Pacific Fair and hidden a block off the main road. Once you are on the street you cant miss it. The exterior of the building is a work of art itself! 

Once inside, you are greeted by a gorgeous sculpture of Frida Kahlo the famous Mexican painter. Past Frida and the front desk is a huge space hosting a spectacular collection of contemporary art and sculpture. 

With such a large gallery and connected storage space, 19Karen is able to keep about 70 artists on rotation For us, this means there is always something fresh and cool to see!

 Sculpture, painting, jewellery, mixed media. It’s all here. 

They are open Tues - Sat 10-5. 


Next, I went to a more well known gallery, The Gold Coast City Gallery located at The Arts Centre.

The gallery is split into 2 floors. Gallery 1 is currently featuring Gold Coast Art Prize 2015. This floor held works of art ranging from breathtaking to head turning. It was downstairs in Gallery 2 that I saw an installation that really left an impression on me. The collection is called A Permanent Mark: The Impact of Tattoo Culture on Contemporary Art. 

I turned a corner and thought to myself, humm are those ziplock baggies on the walls? The answer was yes, from there I asked myself, are those paper towels in the baggies? The answer was also yes. What was so fascinating about the paper towels in baggies is that they were blood stained. The paper towels had been placed on the fresh tattoos to sop up the blood. The blood kept the design of the tattoo and now is on display for all of us to see. 

I previously thought the art of a tattoo was in the finished piece. I learned a valuable lesson, let's call it my “gallery ah-ha moment”.  If you are open to finding the beauty, you will find it in even the most foul of things. This artist has taken something usually considered biohazardous or trash and turned it into something interesting and thought provoking. It made me consider the entire process of the tattoos instead of only regarding the finished piece.  I was thoroughly impressed. Kudos. 

The rest of the gallery was also impressive. A Permanent Mark is only on until the 7th of Feb so you’ll have to get there soon! 


The final gallery I went to was Urban Paradise Gallery in Surfers Paradise.

Urban Paradise was the most intimate of the Galleries I visited. The artists take turn running the gallery to cut back on costs. This is wonderful because at an given time there is someone around who is passionate about the work. I was lucky enough to meet Artist, Lily Halton as well as Founder and Artist, Frederic Berjot. Frederic and Lily gave me a warm welcome and a thorough explanation of what was happening in the gallery.

Urban Paradise Gallery features all Gold Coast Artists. *We are lucky to have such talented people in our Gold Coast community*

Lily was kind enough to explain the feelings behind my favourite piece of her work. That was a real treat. It’s not often you go to a gallery and get to have an unexpected one-on-one chat with the creator. I have to say, I felt pretty special! 

Artist Lily Halton

Artist Lily Halton

From Sculpture to Jewellery and everything in-between, there is no shortage of creativity buzzing around this gallery. You must pop in! 


So, my Dear Gold Coasters, Brisbinates, and Future Tourists, carve out a little time to check out what the Gold Coast art scene has to offer. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!


By Marleigh Kelly