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Coast Cultural Alliance's Sunshine Coast art guide gets a makeover

Five launch events to celebrate the upgraded guide are planned in coming weeks.
Hispanic artist painting in studio

The perennial Purple Banner Guide has been expanded and enhanced by the Coast Cultural Alliance, with five art-infused launch parties planned to herald the release of a new map of local studios and galleries. 

The Guide has been published since 2001 by the non-profit alliance. The forthcoming release increases the number of artist business and supporter listings to 85, and carries a more prominent visual identity on the folding map and complementary website.

“It remained kind of the same size for a long time and we’ve done a whole rebranding thing for the Coast Cultural Alliance,” said alliance chair Linda Williams. “People know about the Purple Banner Guide and our events calendar, but they have no idea who puts it out. It just kind of magically appears.” 

The quarter-century-old Coast Cultural Alliance exists to enhance the arts and cultural tourism economies of the Sunshine Coast. Its members participate in collective marketing and promotional campaigns as well as training programs in marketing and entrepreneurial skills. 

The alliance provides a purple banner to studios and galleries listed in the guide to signal their location to visitors. The glossy guide is distributed on ferries, visitor centres, and at businesses throughout the Sunshine Coast. Some purple-flagged venues welcome walk-in visitors; others request that prospective aficionados make appointments. 

“We had a lot more people want to join the Purple Banner Guide, which meant we had to make it bigger,” said Williams. “So we did. We had to increase it by about four panels. The map is bigger and the fold is going to be a little bit different than it’s always been.” 

Five separate launch events will take place at Sunshine Coast alehouses to celebrate the advent of the upgraded guide. A local artist will be working onsite at each location. 

On Friday, May 27 at 4 p.m., Banditry Cider in Gibsons will feature painter Jay Poynter. Poynter also created the image for a collaborative paint-by-number canvas that will travel from venue to venue. 

On Saturday, May 28 at 12 p.m., Tapworks in Gibsons welcomes Marleen Vermeulen. Vermeulen is a professional oil painter specializing in land and seascapes. 

On Sunday, May 29 at 1 p.m., the Bricker Cider Company in Sechelt will spotlight Earls Cove potter Pia Sillen and Roberts Creek painter Kandice Keith. In addition to her clay pottery, Sillen also designs and fabricates baskets. 

On Sunday, May 29 at 4 p.m., Batch 44 Brewery and Kitchen in Sechelt has invited Hiroshi Shimazaki to display his landscape paintings while interacting with the public. 

In Powell River, on June 4 at 12:30 p.m., Townsite Brewing will host oil and watercolour painter Evelyn Kirkaldy, who also creates mixed media works. 

The Coast Cultural Alliance is also responsible annual art crawl, in which many of the Purple Banner venues become destinations during a weekend-long pilgrimage.  

“I guess the proof is the longevity of it because I have no problem with people signing up every year,” said Williams. 

The Purple Banner Guide is available electronically via the Alliance’s website at