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The evolution of the Gold Coast's bold new Home Of The Arts cultural precinct

Arts & Culture

At a time when the Gold Coast was widely considered a cultural desert, a collective group of the city’s leaders and creatives believed the contrary and the concept for a Gold Coast cultural precinct was born.

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Evandale Parklands in Surfers Paradise was first earmarked for an Arts Centre in the late 1960s. Fast forward to 2013, the City of Gold Coast launched a global competition to design a 17-hectare precinct for the Evandale Parklands that would become the cultural heart of the city.

The competition attracted 75 entries from around the globe – from London to Tokyo and Melbourne. The winning firm, Australian company ARM Architecture, worked closely with the city’s project team to finalise the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct Masterplan.

“It’s time now that we absolutely have a culture precinct that can lead the way and enhance the quintessential culture of the Gold Coast,” said Mayor Tom Tate.

In 2018, the city’s cultural heart took its first beat with the unveiling of the outdoor stage and concert lawn. The award-winning amphitheatre hosts outdoor events and live performances and boasts a hidden green adventure trail atop the stage roof.

It was at this time that a name for the precinct – HOTA, Home of the Arts – was introduced to reflect the evolving destination as a heart for arts, culture and creative enterprise.

Soon after, construction began on the second major milestone, a 130-metre pedestrian and cycle bridge to link the cultural precinct to Chevron Island and Surfers Paradise. In February 2020, the HOTA Green Bridge was officially opened.

And finally, in May 2021, the Gold Coast proudly launched the latest piece in the evolving precinct, the bold new $60.5 million HOTA Gallery inspired by one of the City Collections’ signature pieces, William Robinson’s The Rainforest.

The uniquely Gold Coast venue spans six levels and has over 2000sqm of AAA-rated international standard exhibition space – as well as a children’s gallery, restaurant and a rooftop bar making it the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia.

Celebrating artists from across Australia and the globe, the HOTA Gallery will present world premiere international exhibitions, Australian exclusives and new commissions, and is home to the $32 million City Collection of more than 4,400 artworks.

The CEO of HOTA, Criena Gehrke, said “there is no other city and no other council investing in arts and culture and in infrastructure like the Gold Coast is”.

The HOTA Gallery project alone has been a major economic stimulus for the city, providing 905 jobs for locals and training and skills opportunities for 36 apprentices and trainees. It has been a significant catalyst for the city’s creative economy and continues to diversify and enhance the region’s cultural tourism experience.

HOTA, Home of the Arts will continue to evolve over the next 10 to 15 years, guided by the city’s cultural precinct master plan.

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