Giant owl head gets go-ahead thanks to grant

A giant owl head, representing two threatened local species, is one of the more original projects to have received council funding.

Grants for this project and many others were ratified at today’s Community Engagement Committee meeting.

The committee endorsed $64,000 in Community Grants, $45,796 in Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grants and $17,915 in Green Arts (RADF) grants.

The Mackay Region Owl Arts Project has attracted an RADF grant in the Green Arts category as it will raise awareness around two rare owl species, with our region being the only place in the world where these two species overlap.

It is a first time collaborative project between Sunshine Coast based installation artist Kris Martin and local new media artist Donna Maree Robinson.

RADF Advisory Committee chair Cr Fran Mann said Mr Martin would work with students from Calen District State College in May to create the large 3D head using natural fibre weaving and bamboo construction.

“Once constructed, some of the students’ Mandala art (circular patterns and designs) will be photographed and projected using innovative Video Mapping Projection technology onto the eyes of the owl,” Cr Mann said.  

“The installation will then appear at several festivals, including the Mackay Festival of Arts, and will be used to educate the public on local owl conservation and green arts.”

Other projects and endeavours to attract RADF grants include:

  • local bagpiper Oliver McCahill’s trip to Glasgow for a three week intensive great highland bagpipe instruction at the College of Piping
  • a local musical production of Jekyll & Hyde
  • local artist Rosemary Payne’s painting of Susan Duncan for the 2017 Archibald Prize
  • and concept development for an innovative new local Community Arts Centre.

Community Grants of up to $5000 were shared by 22 community organisations to assist with everything from basic essential equipment to event funding.

Notable recipients included:

  • the Sarina Beach Progress Association which received $5000 towards the Coconut Festival
  • the Road Accident Action Group’s Chain of Responsibility seminar ($4500)
  • The Mackay and District Italian Association’s inaugural Italian Street Party ($5000)
  • and a new transmitter at Black Mountain for 4CRM Community Radio ($4545).

The RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Mackay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

The Green Arts RADF category is a partnership between RADF and the Parks, Environment & Sustainability Department.

Queensland Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said RADF delivered on the Queensland Government’s commitment to foster diverse and inclusive communities, grow strong regions and provide training, education, and employment opportunities for Queenslanders.

“The Queensland Government is contributing $2.08 million to leverage up to $1.92 million from local councils resulting in up to $4 million available to support arts and cultural activities throughout the state in 2016–17,” she said.

“This funding promotes the role and value of arts, culture and heritage as key drivers of inclusive communities and strong regions and ensures Queenslanders can engage with arts locally.

“Each year around 500,000 people are involved in RADF projects as practitioners, participants or audience members.”

For more information on the grants and for information on how to apply, go to

Round three for 2016/17 is now open.  Applications close Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Contact: Mackay Regional Council

Phone: 1300 MACKAY (622 529)

Published: 15 Mar 2017