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Welcome to Art-Port – where art takes flight!

Nestled within the bustling hub of Gladstone Airport, Art-Port emerges as a vibrant oasis of creativity.

This unique public art space is more than a gallery—it’s a living, breathing testament to the artistic prowess and diverse narratives of our local community in the Gladstone Region.

It’s a thriving cultural hub that celebrates and showcases the dynamic array of local talent. From seasoned artists who have honed their craft over the years to budding creatives exploring their artistic voices, Art-Port encapsulates the rich tapestry of our community’s creativity.

At the helm of this creative haven is Jen Hollstein – a dedicated curator, anthropologist, and conservation diver. This year, under Jen’s leadership, Art-Port has brought to life the Community Christmas Tree Project – a testament to community spirit and artistic collaboration.

The Community Christmas Tree at Art-Port is up at Gladstone Airport!

Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are so privileged to meet today – the Byellee, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, and Taribelang Bunda peoples. I’d also like to honour and pay my respect through acknowledgment to the Elders, past, present, and emerging of indigenous nations in this region, across Australia, and throughout the world.

My name is Jen Hollstein and I’m delighted to be the current Curator for Art-Port which is a public art space here at Gladstone Airport, showcasing artwork made by our community members. I’m very thankful to my friend and colleague Melissa Peacock who passed on the baton to me earlier this year after almost four years of curating the space, and she has continued to support me in this role ever since.

Melissa is now the Regional Arts Officer for RASN – the Regional Arts Services Network which is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. Central Queensland University is serving as the Catchment Three RASN Provider from 2022 to 2025, and it is through this partnership between RASN and Gladstone Airport that the Art-Port space has been made possible. We believe that this space is one-of-a-kind in Australia’s regional airports which makes it even more special.

This year, between 40-50 people were involved in the project, between the ages of 3 and 85. It’s hard to say exactly how many people were involved because many workshop participants took home extra materials to share with their family members. On that note, I’d like to give a special shout-out to the staff and aged care participants at Nhulundu Health Service who have contributed with endless enthusiasm! I’m sure you’ll agree that this demonstrates the power of art to bring people together through shared connection and passion, to nurture mental health, and to facilitate the sharing of stories.

As you explore the tree and look beyond the initial, colourful chaos of the decorations, I would invite you to ask yourself what stories are being told. Not only through the kind of materials that have been used but in how they have been worked with; how they were folded, cut, or weaved. You’ll find clues in the subtle details that lead to the hands that created each piece. Who was the person that made this decoration and what story do they have to tell?

The decorations are also made of recycled, second-hand, and natural materials, such as cardboard food and product packaging which you may recognise, wool and ribbons found in the op-shops, and old, fax-machine paper that was pulled out from beneath somebody’s house, ready to be thrown away. So, this tree demonstrates that it is possible to create beautiful, joyful, and meaningful decorations with rubbish, opposing the social norm of mass consumption and waste during this time of year. As such, the tree holds a lot of power, encouraging the viewer to consider changes to sustainable behaviour as the key to humanity’s success.

I’d like to thank the partnerships and sponsors of this project who have helped to make all of this possible. Gladstone Airport, MSS Security, and Betta Electrical for their sponsorship support, and RASN at CQU, Arts Queensland through The Queensland Government, the ARTmatters Gallery, and Nhulundu Health Service for their support in partnership.

As we gear up for an exciting 2024 full of creativity and artistic expression, Gladstone Airport is thrilled to partner with Jen in the vibrant Art-Port space. Our anticipation bubbles over as we envisage the waves of creativity that are set to unfold.
Want to know more about Jen? Dive deeper into her world of artistry by visiting her website.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller passing through Gladstone Airport or an art enthusiast keen on regional art, we warmly invite you to immerse yourself in the creative universe of Art-Port. Physical distance won’t keep you from being part of our artistic journey. Follow the Art-Port Facebook page and stay plugged into the heartbeat of our thriving community’s creativity.

So strap in, prepare for takeoff, and join us on this exciting journey. Welcome to Art-Port – where art takes flight!

We are thankful for our collaboration with the incredible CQUniversity Australia Regional Art Services Network (RASN) team to make Art-Port possible. This partnership symbolises our commitment to fostering regional arts and culture.

The Regional Arts Services Network is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. Central Queensland University is serving as the Catchment Three RASN Provider from 2022 to 2025.

Images featured in this post have been sourced from Jen’s Instagram page. To view the original posts and explore more, please click here.