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MINI has added some creative spark to the beleaguered national arts industry with an art competition and the chance to win arts vouchers and a car to drive for one month.

The COVID-19 lockdowns have shut the arts industry with the iconic Brisbane Powerhouse venue closing and cancelling the renowned Brisbane Comedy Festival at the 11th hour.

Now the outlook is brighter and Mini has partnered with Brisbane Powerhouse to invite artists, designers, and creators to interpret the theme “Power Up” on a Mini Cooper three-door hatch.

Participants will have the chance to win an opportunity to drive their custom-designed art Mini for one month. They can also take part in a photoshoot with their Mini and receive a $200 gift voucher to enjoy Brisbane Powerhouse’s future presentations.

The Mini has been no stranger to playing dress-up. Since its 1959 launch, celebrities, designers and artists have been known to give the car a personalised makeover.

David Bowie created a mirror-plated MINI in 1999 to celebrate the company’s upcoming 40th birthday; designer Paul Smith also made his mark that same year, revealing a car featuring his signature stripes in 86 different colours; and the Beatles each had custom-made Minis delivered to them in 1965 with Ringo Starr’s car having a lift-up hatch to fit his drum kit.

Bowie’s mirror-plated classic Mini was designed to reflect everything around it, so that the owner effectively became part of the car.

Brisbane Powerhouse Artistic Director Kris Stewart said the arts organisation relies on partners such as Brisbane Mini Garage and other stakeholders to support local artists and productions.

“We are a not-for-profit arts organisation and Queensland’s home for contemporary culture,” he said.

“In a normal year, our much-loved building is alive with a program of diverse and inclusive events and festivals that support and celebrate all types of art and artists.

“We create an atmosphere that doesn’t exist anywhere else, that allows people to come together in a social environment and enjoy shared experiences.”

In the 2018/19 financial year, the 20-year-old Brisbane Powerhouse hosted 1229 local artists; presented 55 premieres; and developed, commissioned or presented 17 new local works.

“The stories we tell are built on partnerships and collaboration and we hope this competition encourages people to continue to support this great icon of Brisbane arts and culture,” said Mr Stewart.

Brisbane Mini Garage dealer principal Anthony Alafaci said: “We’re hoping to see a design that captures the creative spark of reinvention, and that spirit of unexpectedness and irreverence that Mini is so known for.”

Entries for the “Create a Mini Art Car for Brisbane Powerhouse” competition close on July 6 and artists, both professional and amateur, can download a template from the Brisbane Mini Garage website and submit an originally-designed entry.

More details are at

By Neil Dowling

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