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Case Studies Tiny Towns Arts Trail | Cultural Tourism Accelerator Case Study (2023)

Tiny Towns Arts Trail is a unique and quirky weekend of art, food and fun that winds its way through nine historic towns and spans five shires across the Central Victorian Goldfields. Stretching over 240 km, the towns on the trail include Newstead, Clunes, Maryborough, Adelaide Lead, Avoca, Dunolly, Tarnagulla, Bealiba and St Arnaud. Occurring each year over the ANZAC long weekend, these regional Victorian towns come to life as artists open their studios, galleries throw open their doors, and pop-up exhibitions take over local spaces.

Tiny Towns Arts Trail received funding to raise awareness and drive visitation through the creation of a promotional pack, the engagement of a local publicist, the creation of wayfinding materials, and to run a targeted advertising campaign.

Tiny Towns Arts Trail engages with artists across five regional shires, providing opportunities for local creatives to gain exposure and build an audience for their work and their arts practice/creative business. It also provides opportunities for artists to work collaboratively, through group exhibitions and potential future collaborations and brings together the talent in local towns, creating a network for artists.

The Trail brings visitors into the smaller towns and provides an opportunity to showcase our region. Bringing visitors from across Victoria and interstate benefits local businesses as well as the artists, especially in the smaller, lesser-known towns. This year we saw an increase in spending on art with most artists on the trail making some good sales.

As a result of the Cultural Tourism Generator project, visitor numbers on the trail increased by at least double compared to the previous year. Notably, smaller towns such as Bealiba which would normally receive fewer visitors, recorded a 100% increase in visitor numbers. Website engagement was also significantly increased, and in the lead up to the trail the website tracked over 3000 individual hits with more than 12,000 page views across the site.

This project was funded by a Cultural Tourism Generator grant, an extension of the Cultural Tourism Accelerator Program. The Cultural Tourism Accelerator Program was an Australian Government initiative delivered through the Regional Arts Fund to help strengthen local visitor economies. The Program sought to increase tourism visitation in regional, rural, and remote communities across Australia, by providing financial support for the promotion of arts and cultural activities.

Melanie Young Studio ready for the trail Image credit Mel Young
Melanie Young's studio ready for the trail. Photo by Melanie Young