The ‘MONA effect’ comes to the Coffs Coast

Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery are bringing Leigh Carmichael, the creative mind behind “the ‘Mona effect”, to Coffs Harbour for their gala dinner on September 7th.

It’s a move sure to make them the envy of many galleries and regional areas, keen to know the secrets of Mona’s success.

As the original Creative Director at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art and now Creative Director of Mona’s 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.


Picture:  Leigh Carmichael meets with Friends’ President Heather McKinnon in Hobart during Dark Mofo.

The Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery 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 7th September 2018
6.30pm – 10.00pm
Coffs Harbour Surf Club Restaurant & Bar

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

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