Arts trail injects over $600,000 into Granite Belt economy
Held over three huge days at the end of October, is reporting almost 3000 visitors through venues for 2020
The Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail, held over three huge days at the end of October, is reporting almost 3000 visitors through venues for 2020, compared to 1100 people in its first year.
The open studios event ran as a collective of COVID sensitive events across 17 venues, from studios to small halls, breweries, cafes and cellar doors and concluded Sunday 1 November 2020.
Thirty local artisans held workshops throughout the region from Wallangarra in the south to Cottonvale in the north. Visitors and locals alike took classes, watched demonstrations and were entertained by the areas wealth of local talent.
Event founder Rosy Chapman says,
“The inaugural event brought over $60,000 into our regional economy from tourists. In 2021, our conservative estimate is well over $600,000, thanks to the groundswell of support from our drive market.
“Our highest-yield visitors came from Brisbane, Toowoomba, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Many stayed for more than three nights, booking alternative wine tours, visiting our national parks and patronising our local businesses.
“Accommodation operators across the Granite Belt came close to reaching capacity with over 80 per cent of accommodation fully booked. (Source: Booking.com)
“Our first year saw local support at 60% and visitor support at 40%. This year, the scales have tipped, bringing the Granite Belt 60% of visitors from outside the region, and 40% of locals, who continue to get behind the event, which has the objectives of: inclusiveness, reduced isolation, identity as an arts and cultural destination and economic diversity”.
First-time visitor to the Granite Belt Freya James joined a group of eight for a four-night getaway, visiting numerous venues on the trail via self-drive and Filippos Wine Tours, describing her experience as “magical”.
Her most-loved artisan was watercolourist Judi Pigeon, who demonstrated her art at Ballandean Estate.
Judi’s watercolours spoke to my heart. I purchased one of her smaller pieces and I just love it.
“The Barrelroom at Ballandean was a definite standout. Beautiful food and wine alongside welcoming service. Even though we arrived just before service closed, we could not have been looked after better.
“I literally wept at the beauty of Girraween. So far removed from the Gold Coast landscape. The wildflowers, the boulders, the birds, the scale, the peace. We will all be back!” says Ms James.
The Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail Open Studios Event provides a fully immersive experience of the rich tapestry of culture, talent, history and artefacts in the region. The self-drive trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the picturesque landscapes around Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt, including national parks, mountains, award-winning wineries and local cafes.
Rosy Chapman was inspired by the Silo Art Trail, which delivers international media attention to regional Australia, an influx of tourists to the region, and expansion of the trail into a 200-kilometre-long outdoor art gallery.