Mackay officially one of Australia’s best street art drawcards

Published: 11 Feb 2022

An outdoor gallery in a Mackay City Centre laneway that showcases the works of 16 local and five visiting artists has been named as one of the best public art experiences in the nation.

Fifth Lane Street Art Mackay has been shortlisted for the 2021 Australian Street Art Awards’ Best Street Art Laneway gong.

The Australian Street Art Awards, established in 2018, recognise destinations like Mackay that are using outdoor art to attract visitors, boost their economy and engage their community.

Awards Director, Liz Rivers, said “The awards inform travellers about the magnificent array of publicly-accessible art that can be found in every corner of the country and the communities that have invested in these attractions because they’re keen to welcome visitors”. She said smart communities promote their street and outdoor art as a unique landmark - an attraction that visitors can see in only one place - and that makes their destination immediately identifiable, highly attractive and a drawcard for art-loving tourists.

“Investing in outdoor art as a visitor attraction is also clever economics, as the art is typically less expensive to create than more traditional tourism attractions and the pay-off is handsome,” Ms Rivers said. Arts tourists from within Australia are high value visitors - they stay 42.8% longer and spend 55.9% more when travelling than domestic tourists overall, according to an Australia Council for the Arts’ Domestic Art Tourism: Connecting the Country Report.

“Being shortlisted in the Awards further cements Mackay’s reputation as an aspirational destination for everyone who loves to discover visually stunning experiences,” Ms Rivers said. With rigorous judging by tourism leaders, plus second-tier auditing and due diligence, Fifth Lane Street Art Mackay 's finalist success has the credence of the tourism sector.

The Fifth Lane Street Art Project started with a small group of local artists wanting to beautify one of the major laneways in the heart of the Mackay City Centre. The original idea of brightening up the walls developed into an engaging creative space full of murals, pasteups, digital and community art all fused with augmented reality technology. The artworks were all inspired by Mackay nature, wildlife and iconic local elements or experiences. With the new 2021 artworks, lighting and pavement, the laneway is a more user-friendly space for the local community and visitors to enjoy.

The judges said, “This is a very well-conceived and well-promoted visitor experience that has been raised to the next level thanks to the investment in leading-edge augmented reality technology to breathe ‘life’ into numerous of these public artworks."

The winners in all 11 Australian Street Art Awards categories will be announced as part of an online celebration on March 4, 2022.

Media release provided by Australian Street Art Awards  (www.streetartawards.com.au)