Untold stories: New street art festival shines light on Toowoomba’s unsung heroes

Toowoomba’s untold stories will be illuminated in September as part of a new two-night street art festival for the city.

Image: Ben Tupas

Digital media producer and festival director Ben Tupas said bold and colourful light projections and sculptures will be created by local and internationally established artists to reactivate the city by night.

“With LIT Festival: Stories in Light, we want people to explore Toowoomba into the evenings and breathe more energy into the nightlife,” he said.

“Toowoomba has an enviable lifestyle and this festival seeks to open up the city and entice people and businesses to find a niche with new tourism opportunities.”

LIT Festival will be held alongside the Carnival of Flowers and utilise the influx of visitors looking for creative late night events.

“We want people to stay in Toowoomba and explore what we have to offer. When First Coat wrapped up in 2017 we were left with stunning works across the CBD but the festival to celebrate the creative talent was lost,” he said.

“LIT Festival is looking to fill that gap and reclaim some of the cultural and creative experiences this city is renowned for.”

Planning for LIT Festival began in October last year after organisers secured a Regional Arts Development Fund grant, auspiced by Arts Council Toowoomba.

The festival will create dynamic light projections using the city’s historical facades as canvases.

“In July we’ll launch a community callout to find the unsung heroes and faces of Toowoomba that will be part of our installations,” he said.

“We want to hear from people that have a great story to tell or know of someone that should be recognised. This is a festival for Toowoomba to own and share, and we want residents to be a big part of that.”

Toowoomba’s Jesse Paul Wright is widely recognised for his large-scale sculptures, and along with Connor Quill, the duo are working together as VIDa (Visual Art and Dance) to create one of the three major installations found across the festival locations.

They will also host workshops in September to encourage participation in a lantern parade that will weave between the sites on the first night of the festival.

“We’re excited to be working with Toowoomba professionals like Ruth Atkinson from Visual Focus who will bring the technical brains to power the art, as well as local artists such as renowned animator John Rowe. ” Mr Tupas said.

“Behind-the-scenes we’ve been scouting out the best locations to showcase the dynamic talent we have as part of the festival,” Mr Tupas said.

Two additional major artists will be announced in August in the lead up to the festival. LIT Festival: Stories In Light will be held on September 28-29 throughout the CBD. The festival is planned to be held biennially.

Visit www.litfestival.com.au for more information.

LIT Festival: Stories In Light is presented by storyARC funded in part by a RADF grant, auspiced by Arts Council Toowoomba.

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Toowoomba Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.