Cultural exchange creates mutual international promotion
  • Thursday 26 March 2015

The Sunshine Coast has just enjoyed a month of promotion throughout schools and venues in Izumisano City in Japan thanks to an art competition with a difference.

Sunshine Coast Council today welcomed the Izumisano City winner of the competition, 11-year-old Hinako Yoshida, as our Sunshine Coast winner, Eleena Jackson from Matthew Flinders, returned from her prize week in Hinako’s hometown.

Community Programs Councillor Jenny McKay said in a unique cultural exchange initiative, the SUNED association arranged for Year 5 students in both the Sunshine Coast and Izumisano regions to create artworks that gave a sense of what their home region meant to them.

“Each city judged the best 20 from the other’s region – and awarded a first, second and third placegetter,” Cr McKay said.

“The winner and one of their parents were provided a free one-week trip to the other’s city, with SUNED funding the Japanese visitors to the Coast, and Izumisano City Council funding the Sunshine Coast visitors to Japan.

“I was honoured to join Mr Simon Ambrose, CEO Sunshine Coast Destinations, and Mr Bill Salsbury, President of SUNED, on the Sunshine Coast judging panel of the Izumisano students’ artwork.

“The Izumisano City judges of our students’ paintings were Mr Hiroyasu Chiyomatsu - Mayor, Mr Zenkichi Izutani - Deputy Mayor, and Mr Tatsuhiro Nakafuji - Superintendent of Education."

Following a display in schools, local residents have the opportunity to view Hinako’s winning artwork, along with the 19 finalists from Izumisano at Nambour, Kawana and Caloundra libraries during the first two weeks of April.

Mr Salsbury said apart from encouraging the artistic talents of the students, the cultural exchange was also a means to promote each other’s region.

“The 20 Sunshine Coast paintings, accompanied by promotional material, were sent on a roadshow through the city of Izumisano visiting all schools and being seen by many potential visitors to the Coast,” Mr Salsbury said.

“We’ve had great support from Mayor Jamieson’s office, Cr McKay and Sunshine Coast Destinations from day one of this project.

“This sort of grassroots marketing, extolling the Coast as a family friendly destination for international visitors, works in very well with the Coast’s 'naturally refreshing' brand.”

Eleena Jackson and her father Stewart visited Izumisano from March 13-20 while Hinako Yoshida and her mother Kayo are visiting the Sunshine Coast from March 24-29.