Celebrating a milestone, Home of the Arts (HOTA) reflects on the year that was, 12 months after unveiling its new name.

In early 2018, HOTA unveiled its new name, brand and launched its outdoor stage after more than 30 years as the Arts Centre. A line up of big-name artists and a huge program of exhibitions and events over the past 12 months ensured HOTA made a significant impact on the Gold Coast’s arts and culture scene, as the centrepiece of the city’s cultural masterplan. Within the first year as HOTA, it presented sell out concerts in its new purpose-built $37.5 million open-air venue by superstar Tim Minchin and music icon, Neil Finn; a residency by legendary avantgarde artist, Laurie Anderson; a night with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra; a pop opera by superstars, Il Divo; and an unforgettable dance party with Ministry of Sound: Orchestrated.

Selling more than 275,000 tickets and welcoming more than 146,000 visitors to the cinema, HOTA hosted performances by Circa, Sydney Dance, Ross Noble, Opera Queensland, Monkey Baa, Shake & Stir, Arj Barker, Anh Do and Nick Barker to name a few.

HOTA was also the centre point of various community events and school holiday activity, with its popular Kids Take Over mini-fests. Additionally, the Gallery played host to 12 exhibitions, showcasing works by more than 534 artists and was visited by more than 38,600 people. HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke expressed that the Home of the Arts is making its mark on the Gold Coast and they have big plans for 2019. “This past year we’ve been excited to roll out a fresh, new approach to our programming and are delighted that the Gold Coast has embraced our new direction. There’s a really vibrant creative scene here and people have high expectations,” she said. “You can expect more big things from us this year. We plan to keep the surprises coming with more unexpected art in our beautiful parklands, and plenty of amazing events for everyone.”

HOTA worked with more than 400 local artists and creatives in 2018, joining forces with Bleach Festival, the Gold Coast Film Festival, The Farm and Storyfest, reinforcing its mission to collaborate and share resources to make big things happen for the city. “As an arts and culture hub for the Gold Coast, we will continue to shape this space and keep artists at the heart of what we do. From employing local artists, commissioning work and providing new opportunities through our Creative Development Program, we will continue to ensure that there are opportunities available for all creatives,” Criena said.

In 2019, a new green bridge will connect the precinct to Chevron Island, and in early 2021, the highly anticipated HOTA Gallery will open its doors with a host of world-class international standard exhibitions.

Readers also enjoyed seeing the 2019 program of the upcoming Bleach* Festival.