First Coat Festival

Street art blends Toowoomba’s CBD streets and laneways in a stunning transformation of what was once parking lots and thoroughfares to now bold canvasses and bright murals. 

After four years of First Coat festivals, the city is one of the largest outdoor art galleries in Australia, with more than 100 large-scale works and artists sharing the brickwork with established international names and those in the emerging scene. 

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First Coat festival organiser Grace Dewar has watched the city embrace the cultural collision and welcomed street art from the quirky to the profound. 

“When First Coat began we wanted to breathe life into Toowoomba and highlight the huge talent of street artists that were home-grown,” she said. 

The idea was borne through a partnership with the Toowoomba Regional Council to look at ways to stop graffiti tags throughout the city.

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It grew to incorporate walking tours, artist talks, music events, exhibitions, and workshops, giving people travelling to the region a reason to stay for the up to 10-day event. 

While the annual festival wrapped up in 2017, tourists continue to flock to laneways as the perfect location to stage a fashion shoot, family photo or selfie. 

“The reputation of Toowoomba as a creative city is growing and it’s amazing to watch people from out of town exploring the CBD and exploring artworks and businesses they might not have stopped at otherwise,” Ms Dewar said. 

The street art winds past historic buildings, pubs, waterways and gyms, taking those on foot around the city with a Choose your Own Adventure app to help. 

“To finally have Toowoomba recognised for the rich arts and culture that does already exist here is exciting.” 

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