Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts is a not-for-profit contemporary art space with an annual program of exhibitions, public programs and events. It is one of Australia’s longest running regionally-based contemporary art galleries. Umbrella showcases the work of emerging, mid-career and established local, national and international artists, and has a dedicated exhibition space for First Nations artists. It also has a Makerspace (including printing presses) for artists to create in.
Umbrella sits at the nexus of Cairns, Mackay and Mt Isa on Guarambilbarra Wulgurukaba and Bindal Country (Townsville, North Queensland). It was established in 1986 as a working studio for a group of emerging artists as the only artist-run initiative and the first professional arts organisation north of Brisbane. It became incorporated in 1989 with six core artists who paid the studio rent, as well as full members who attended meetings, and a growing associate membership base. In 1991, a controversial decision was made to grow beyond the voluntary artist-run structure and engage a full-time paid administrator. Since the early 1990s Umbrella has been transformed from an artist collective, offering practical studio-based facilities, to a funded and professionally managed members-based contemporary arts organisation, with an annual program of exhibitions, public programs, and special events. Umbrella is a member-based organisation with over 250 active members.
Umbrella's mission: Expressing and amplifying our distinctive and authentic North Queensland voice.
Umbrella's vision: To be an inclusive platform for independent, experimental contemporary arts practice in North Queensland.