The first Coolum Keeper has arrived (again!)
  • Friday 13 August 2021
ImageA new live public art project is underway in Coolum and everyone is invited to get involved.

Libby Derham a fourth-generation watercolourist is the first of 10 Coolum based artists that will capture and retell local stories as part of The Keeper Project.

Sunshine Coast Council Divisional Councillor Maria Suarez encouraged everyone who lived, worked or played in Coolum to contribute to this public art project and be part of the story.

“You’ll find the first Keeper, Libby Derham, capturing the unique sites and stories of the moment as she paints her way along the Coolum Boardwalk,” Cr Suarez said.

“Each day the Keeper compiles a log of their journey by typewriter, stationed in their office, in a public corner of the Coolum Library.

“Stop to say hello, ask questions and you may just see your story, conversation or discovery captured in the Keeper’s log or if you don’t feel like chatting, just enjoy seeing this epic work on paper as it comes to life.”

You can follow the Keepers and read their logs at

Each Keepers’ journey will be different, so keep checking back to see what’s new.

Libby’s first log noted she talked to “lots of fabulous people”, explored “the first 20 metres of the boardwalk” and discovered “faraway vistas…aqua colours of ocean depths…” Since then she has discovered untold stories of indigenous artefacts, the healing power people have found in Coolum and curious onlookers starting to slow down and talk.

Libby can be found on the Coolum Boardwalk until Friday 3 September. Check the website for details of days and times.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Creative Development team leader Megan Rowland said each artist would engage with the community for three weeks before passing the role on to the next keeper.

“The ten artists come from a range of creative disciplines including visual arts, music, spoken word and interdisciplinary practice,” Ms Rowland said

“The artists and project will be informed by the deep knowledge of place shared by Kabi Kabi elder Lyndon Davis.”

The project was developed in collaboration with Field Theory and piloted in Coolum in November 2019.

The Keeper Project is delivered by Sunshine Coast Council in partnership with Red Chair and takes place in Coolum from July 2021 until March 2022.

There will be a public call out for more Keepers in October 2021.

This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and The Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership with Sunshine Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Meet the Keepers

Keeper 01 Libby Derham – 24 July to 3 September (extended due to lockdown)

Keeper 02 Peta O’Hara – 3 September to 24 September

Keeper 03 Shannon Carrol – 24 September to 15 October

Keeper 04 Simone Gillam – 15 October to 5 November

Keeper 05 Kellie O’Dempsey – 5 – 26 November

Keeper 06 Alison Mooney – 26 November – 17 December

Keeper 07 Jack Hagan – 17 December – 7 January

Keepers 8, 9 and 10 are still to be discovered.

Image: The first Keeper, Libby Derham.