Tropical arts and culture

While it might be tempting for residents and visitors to Cairns to while away hours on the pristine beaches, visit the reef or tour the lush countryside, they can also find many activities to keep their minds nourished. Cairns City Council values the contribution of creative arts to community life. It actively encourages residents young and old to explore their artistic potential and interests.

Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the fruits of this investment through the Library service, Tanks Arts Centre and the Civic Theatre. The latter offers Cairns residents and visitors a chance to enjoy a wide variety of live performances, including theatre, ballet, rock concerts and opera.

It also provides community groups with a professional venue for the staging of their own productions, such as concerts, school productions and eisteddfods. Fully trained technical staff are available to assist with these.

Operating for almost 25 years, the Theatre stages some 200 events each year. Council itself stages 20 to 30 shows a year with the aim of providing encouragement and professional experience to local talent. This maximises the venue's usage and provides entertainment which might not otherwise be available to residents.

Perhaps Council's the most innovative cultural initiative is the Tanks Art Centre. Here a unique building, created from the shells of three World War Two oil tanks, provides a diversity of arts activities. These include an art gallery, exhibition and performance spaces, design and print studios and conference facilities.

Tanks fosters the proliferation and development of local talent providing artists with a supportive facility and resources to practice and develop their ideas and skills in an exciting, artistic hub.

A volunteer program encourages individuals to join in the fun and learn new skills. Volunteers get the chance to meet other people while helping out with all sorts of activities to keep the centre functioning. This includes gardening, computer work, staffing for functions, management and other roles.

Recent events include a class conducted by the visiting VUSA Dance Company from South Africa and an exhibition of local Far North visual artists' work titled 'An Insane Labyrinth'. Every month Tanks holds a Market Day.

Council's Library services are available to residents and visitors providing a broad range of printed, audio and video material for information and enjoyment. This service includes special genealogical research materials, special resources devoted to the Far North Queensland Region and community information.

The $4 million revamp of the Old Council Chambers into a new city centre Library will offer the added convenience of drive through Library services.