Art Trail News

Matthew Manahan

One of Stanthorpe’s favourite sons returns home

Professional actor/singer Matthew Manahan will return home to the Granite Belt to make musical magic with the Stanthorpe Swooners at the official opening night of the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail on October 29.

A convergence of the arts will make Stanthorpe the place to be when one of Stanthorpe’s favourite sons returns home to bring his charismatic presence to the stage at the opening event of the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail in October.

Matthew Manahan studied at the highly respected Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and his dramatic work has already encompassed such diverse stage works as Hair, Wicked, Aspects of Love, Cabaret the Musical and Brigadoon. He has also dipped his toe into television, joining Season 2 of The Bureau of Magical Things.

On Friday night October 29, he will join a specially formed group of local music professionals, Stanthorpe Swooners, to entertain at Fresh Canvas, which will officially open the Granite Belt’s premier meet-the-artisans three-day weekend on October 29, 30 and 31.

Guests will be spiffed up, the Exhibition Centre at the Stanthorpe Showgrounds will be dressed for the occasion and well-known chef Jason Costanzo, of Giorgio’s Mobile Chef, will serve a delicious two-course meal.

Stanthorpe Swooners, the musicians who will bring their wonderful sound to the night, are Natalee McCosker (keyboard), David Hume (guitar), Morwenna Harslett (violin), and (drumroll, please) Josh Grant (drums) with Andy Wilmot on sound and light. They have amazing CVs, with their own compositions, involvement with much-loved Australian artists and international performances among their achievements. And while the stories behind these musical artists is quite fascinating, it’s the atmosphere they create which will truly captivate their audience. Add in Matthew Manahan’s energy, flair and professional polish, and it will be a night to remember!

The event is sponsored by Bendigo Bank, Ensby Electrical and Flying Arts. Tables of 10 are available so you can make it a group event with your friends, or individual tickets are also available. Tickets for Fresh Canvas will be available from July 1. Check the website for more information. The tickets are expected to sell like hotcakes, so get in early.

A different vibe will take over the rest of weekend, which will be a rare opportunity to meet Granite Belt artisans, try something new, buy their art and learn some of the skills that go into their artistry.

There is something about the Granite Belt that has long attracted people with artistic tendencies. So many talented people have made the region their home, and this is what makes the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail so fascinating for visitors. One of the event’s greatest attractions is that it is a moving, living artstravaganza rather than a static display.

For while there is a great deal of pleasure wandering through exhibitions and admiring the artistic creativity of others, the enjoyment is intensified when you have a chance to talk to the artists and find out what makes them tick, see how they work and discover the stories of what drew them to their particular artistic endeavour. For those who like to learn new techniques for themselves, the experience is deepened by opportunities to try their hand in a variety of artistic fields.

Many offerings of free demonstrations, paid workshops and exhibitions will take place during the event. All will be pre-booked through the website (even totally free ones) due to an ongoing COVID safe practice commitment.

All artisans on the trail are featured in detail on the website, so you can immerse yourself in an early introduction to the people involved in the fine arts, textiles, candles, cards, pottery, soaps, metal art, sculpture, jewellery, cheesemaking and glass pouring.

To make sure you don’t go hungry during your day of artistic wandering around the Granite Belt, picnic hampers can be pre-ordered for any of the three days. The hampers will be available for pick-up at GBART Central between 9am and 11am each day. GBART's comprehensive booklet of all artisans and happenings even shows a list of places where your BYO picnic can be enjoyed along the trail. Don’t forget to book your accommodation early too.

Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail

Contact: Rosy Chapman - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Phone: 0417 727 997

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