MONA comes to Coffs

Leigh Carmichael
Leigh Carmichael

Leigh Carmichael, the creative mind behind Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art, will speak at a gala fundraising dinner hosted by the Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery on September 7.

As the original Creative Director at MONA, and now Creative Director of its DarkLab, including Dark Mofo, Leigh will reveal the imagination behind "the MONA effect" that has seen tourism numbers soar for Tasmania.

Opened in 2011, MONA is a world-class example of the benefits of cultural tourism, throwing out the traditional rules of a gallery by taking brave, creative risks. It’s worked. MONA not only draws in tourists from all over the world, it engages locals from all walks of life, many who have never stepped into a gallery or museum before.

The Friends see the potential for Coffs Harbour and the timing of Leigh’s visit couldn’t be better, with council recently voting to move forward with the new cultural and civic space in the CBD, including a new gallery, library and museum.

Fresh from experiencing MONA’s Dark Mofo festival, Friends’ President Heather McKinnon met with Leigh in Hobart and says his story and down-to-earth approach will appeal to many.

“We can learn so much from Leigh and his incredible success at MONA to help fire our own community,” says Heather.

“Our aim is to inspire people to imagine the value creative infrastructure and cultural branding can bring to the region. Whether you are interested in the arts, community, tourism, business or education, the night will be a feast for the mind.”

The Coffs Harbour Surf Club Restaurant will undergo a MONA-inspired transformation and the Pablo Blitzer Quintet will play daring works of contemporary jazz. A special three-course menu designed by executive chef Matt Donovan will be accompanied by selected fine wines, beer and soft drinks as part of the ticket price.

All funds from the evening will go toward the purchase of new artworks for the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery. 

Bookings essential online at


Friday September 7, 6.30pm – 10.00pm.

Coffs Harbour Surf Club Restaurant & Bar

Tickets: $145 Non-Members, $130 Members of Friends, includes dinner & drinks.

Bookings & information online: