First Coat Studios



This inner city studio is home to a shared working environment, unlike a typical office space.  Home to eight multidisciplinary Artists & Makers, First Coat Studios provides a vital platform for sustainable arts practices and creative collaboration.

Visit our Laurel St venue to connect with professional established and emerging practitioners that work across the fields of painting, ceramics, photography, event & project management, sign writing, public art, videography, sculpture and curation. 




Grace Dewar

Grace Dewar is a curator and cultural producer motivated by making art and culture more accessible. As the Founder and Director of First Coat International Art Festival, Grace is a key contributor to regional Australia’s growing creative identity. She is passionate about contributing to our national creative voice and leading change in the arts and cultural sector.

Her exhibition history and artistic background in site-specific installation has led her to develop a curatorial practice and collaborate with international and national artists. She attributes her active leadership in the sector to her upbringing outside of metropolitan areas, which has encouraged a strong sense of place and outstanding of the role art plays in communities.




Laurie Oxenford
Marketing Manager

Raised on a lavender farm in south-east Queensland, Laurie Oxenford is an emerging artist, curator and the marketing wizard behind all our online content. She recently completed her Bachelor of Creative Arts majoring in Visual Arts and Business at the University of Southern Queensland.

Her background in social marketing and content creation has informed her passion for finding new and innovative ways to share art practices and creative content in the digital sphere. Laurie has developed a passion for advocating for young artists and the role the arts plays in her local community through contributing to Future. Now. Youth Forum. She has also facilitated recycled sculptural building workshops sharing her love for accessible and sustainable art making. 




Emily Young & Linsey Walker
Gallery Co-Curators

Both third year Visual Art students, Emily Young and Linsey Walker have joined the team as our 2019 Gallery Curators. Over the course of the year, they will be guided through a mentorship in gallery operations to develop their curatorial skills. ⠀

This exchange has been established in partnership with USQ to offer industry experience for emerging arts professionals undertaking a minor in Gallery Studies.⠀

@emilylucilleyoung & @linsey_walker_artist,



David Usher - Maraborough AIR PC Belinda Sinclair.jpg

David Usher

David Usher is a visual artist working predominately with in painting and ceramics. His practice is focused on reinterpreting the Australian Landscape as representative of experiencing life as journeying, rather than the stillness of a destination.

He is currently undertaking a Doctorate at the University of Southern Queensland - his area of research is ‘the spook’. The thing that is special about this research is that it is a theoretical discussion of something that is felt. The instinctive landscapes are a direct translation of David’s physical experience in a landscape, his experience is captured and transferred to be read as the spook in his paintings/ceramics.

David has shown with several galleries including Doggart and ALG, and has work in collections including Queensland Art Gallery, Artbank, Brisbane City Hall Gallery and Queensland Potters Association.

David Usher || Alexandra Lawson Gallery


Jade Courtney Artist First Coat Studios Toowoomba

Jade Courtney
Video Artist

Jade Courtney is an independent video artist and documentarian based in Toowoomba. Through a palette of bright colour, her narratives are transformed to a more surreal dialogue about her experience of the world. Her short films predominantly feature herself as the subject, reimagined in another form as a response to her own inner workings. 



Catherine Parker
Visual Artist

Catherine Parker is a painter / mixed media artist based in Toowoomba, Queensland. An avid, curious traveller, she seeks respite in makeshift studios, sometimes with portable sketch book involving 'on the road' works.

A frequent traveller to India and Magnetic Island, North Queensland, Australia, her works combine elements of the two continents; a metaphysical interest in people, nature and spiritual systems. 

Parker’s work is held in various public and corporate collections including: RMIT (Melbourne), Southern Cross University, State Library of Victoria (Melbourne), Baillieu Library (Melbourne), Mater Hospital (Brisbane + Springfield), Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (Brisbane); Hummingbird House (part of Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital Brisbane) and Gadens Lawyers (Brisbane).




Peta Berghofer

Peta Berghofer is a contemporary ceramicist exploring hand built clay objects for their functional and sculptural qualities. With an emphasis on spontaneity and human gesture in the creative process, Peta’s sculptural forms champion her presence in the work.

Her recent slip cast homewares range investigates surface intuitive making in the decorative processes, which inherit gesture and connection to the maker. Peta faciltiates clay workshops and exhibits her forms nationally.




Laurie Oxenford
Visual Artist

Laurie Oxenford is an emerging Australian sculptor, curator and painter based in the Toowoomba region. Her practice mixes a range of contemporary sculptural techniques including painting, assemblage, deconstruction and utilising recycled materials to alter functional found objects. She also considers how context establishes new dialogues between artworks, spaces and viewers.

Her work comments on society’s relationship with sustainability, the role of material in art and different ways of constructing conceptual meaning. Oxenford explores waste facilities, second-hand outlets and industrial landscapes that offer recycled, environmentally affected items such as metal signs, building materials, and everyday objects, which inspire, direct and become the starting point for her creative process. She explores how the context for these objects affects their meaning and in turn, how they change the space they inhabit.



London Heir
Visual Artist

Working under her pseudonym ‘London Heir’, Brittany Smit is an emerging visual artist based in Toowoomba, Queensland. Growing up in the Ukraine, London was exposed to new modes of femininity which has significantly influenced her work today. Her practice explores ethereality and juvenescence, working predominantly with the female form. Through realistic subject matter and painterly processes, she discusses self-referential themes of empathy and the complexities of the human condition.

London has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally, and has received recognition through several emerging artist awards. She has contributed largely to the creative culture for young people in her regional home of Toowoomba. Through her independent workshop program and in collaboration with creative organisations she has established avenues for young people to connect with her own practice and broader art mediums.



Margaret Isaac
Visual Artist

Margaret Isaac is a visual artist working predominately with oils and acrylics on board. Her work draws upon her deep love of drawing from life, which formed in part during her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School University and also from having a transient and makeshift art practice through her travels. Exploring people and place, Margaret is interested in the immediacy and breath that comes through when working form life.


Chloe Dalamaras Artist Toowoomba First Coat Studios

Chloe Dalamaras
Visual Artist

Chloe Dalamaras is an emerging photographer, working primarily with 35mm/120mm film. Her work is often portrait based, working with shapes and colour palettes within her composition to create emotive imagery.

Chloe is currently involved our 'Emerging Artist LAB' – a three month program that supports two early career artists through a free studio residency, professional mentorship and exhibition outcome. This program has been made possible thanks to the Regional Arts Development Fund, auspiced by Back Bone Youth Arts.⁣⁣⁣


Mariska Fenner Artist Toowoomba First Coat Studios

Mariska Fenner
Visual Artist

Mariska Fenner is an emerging, multi disciplinary artist, currently completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Southern Queensland. Her arts practice incorporates painting, printmaking and ceramic techniques with a focus on collage and the layering of unrelated imagery to construct narratives. These processes act as a means to explore ideas of absence, memory and existence.

Mariska is currently involved our 'Emerging Artist LAB' – a three month program that supports two early career artists through a free studio residency, professional mentorship and exhibition outcome. This program has been made possible thanks to the Regional Arts Development Fund, auspiced by Back Bone Youth Arts.⁣⁣⁣