A huge number of art and music lovers attended the Cairns Ukulele Festival Uke Art Exhibition launch on Friday (22 June). Dozens of artists were given a ukulele and free reign to create a unique piece of art. The result is now on display at the Tanks Arts Centre. Each piece will be sold through a silent auction, with all profits going to charity.
This year, the nominated charity is COUCH (Committee Oncology Unit Cairns Hospital). COUCH is a local charity, started by Charles and Pip Woodward in 2006. COUCH aims to bring about a complete health and wellbeing centre to enhance the likelihood that people will beat cancer, as well as improve facilities at the Cairns Base Hospital. The night was opened by Charles Woodward. Mr. Woodward talked about the work COUCH does, the need for a wellness centre and expressed his gratitude for this opportunity to raise further funds and awareness for COUCH.
Cairns Ukulele Festival organiser and exhibition curator Gaby Thomasz gave an emotional speech about how she learned first-hand in recent weeks how much such a wellness centre and awareness is needed in the North and how important it was for community events to be able to give back to a charity such as COUCH through events like the Uke Art Exhibition. She highlighted the need to ensure the government’s commitment to elevate Cairns Base Hospital to a Tier 1 hospital is kept.
“The fact that the money goes to a local charity that benefits people with a disease that affects so many, as well as their relatives, really means a lot to me,” she says. “We need more resources for those who treat and look after people with cancer, as well as facilities that can act as a one-stop-shop for people with cancer and provide those diagnosed, and those who live with them, with holistic information and advice. The fact that this exhibition contributes to all of this means even more to me today than it did only a few months ago, and I ask everyone to bid generously as you never know, maybe one day you or a loved one will benefit from this service”.
The exhibition runs until Sunday 8 July, the final day of the Cairns Ukulele Festival, which is also the main concert day held at the Tanks Arts Centre. The day features artists from all over the globe and Australia. Final bids will be accepted for the Uke Art Exhibition pieces at 8pm.
For those who are inspired by the Uke Art exhibition, the festival has organised “Paint ‘n’ Play” workshops for kids and adults during the school holidays, during which you can paint your own ukulele with workshop facilitator Greg Dwyer. Greg Dwyer is a renowned local artist who designed the art for this year’s festival poster. He also painted a ukulele for the exhibition. As part of the workshop, participants will also learn to play the ukulele with Mike Jackson, whose Uke ‘n’ Play Ukulele books are among the best-selling music books in Australia.