The Coal Coast is filled with creative people with art works to be found in every corner of the Illawarra - inside cafes, galleries and in the great outdoors.
You can wind your way from north to south and take in all that local artists have to offer, with plenty of public art in open spaces if you'd prefer to keep your distance.
- Some galleries will require visitors to sign in via the Service NSW app, as well as wearing a face mask.
Artspace 2515 in Thirroul
Judith Russo opened the communal gallery Artspace 2515 in Thirroul Plaza, showcasing 25 artists in 15 weeks in a space "gifted" by the landlord.
"Success in the art world is based on connecting with others, being seen and having your work recognised and we were deprived of that for so long," Ms Russo said.
"Thirroul is a booming town over summer and I want to capture that audience and show them how fantastic the standard of artwork is in this region."
Egg and Dart Thirroul
Notable for showing some of the finest young artists in the region, this small but powerful gallery is currently showing the works of Ebony Eden until February 20.
Mixing coffee with fine art for your walls and homewares in Coledale and Towradgi.
Artist and ocean lover Jaqueline Burgess has managed to turn her paintings of the rugged Illawarra coastline into a thriving art and textile business.
Wollongong Art Gallery
The councilowned and run gallery currently has five different exhibitions on.
These include quirky depictions and interpretations of the human body, Indigenous art from the region's elders and young up-and-comers, photographs and prints of the Illawarra's migrant landscape, and a satirical look at what it means to be Australian.
The art gallery currently requires patrons to please wear masks at this time.
Art in the Dang
Ex-Figtree Heights Public School teacherJudi Goodwin ignored the naysayers and opened her dream gallery on the main road of Windang.
"I also wanted to give emerging artists a chance to exhibit where they might not be game enough to go into a big public gallery," Judi previously told the Mercury.
Ms Goodwin's paintings hang upon two walls, another taken up with guest artists who rotate weekly.
Eclectic goodies like jewellery, woodwork, ceramics, soy candles, digital prints and sculptures are also out for the world to see - and buy.
Kiama Terra Art Gallery
This art collective is run by sisters Izabella and Karolina Venter, ex-pats from Hungary.
The Terra not only showcases the work of Karolina, but dozens of works from creatives around the region with the commission being variable so artists always get the price they want.
Find them on Terralong Street.
FREE PUBLIC ART OUTDOORS
Wollongong CBD Murals
The city still boasts the remnants of previous Wonderwalls Festivals - a street art celebration from years gone by - with larger-than-life portraits and abstract murals still splashed across many once drab building facades.
Colourful spots for to look out for include the David Jones entrance on Burelli Street, Court Lane, the Wollongong City Council building, The Arts Precinct (near IPAC), the Richardson Street entry to Wollongong Central, Globe Lane, north end of Keira Street, Wollongong Train Station.
Port Kembla also has many giant murals about town after the Wonderwalls Festival made it there in 2019
Lake Illawarra Art Trail
Walk or cycle the trail to explore local history, Aboriginal heritage, flora and fauna.
Prawn Run, by Hurricane Bestman of XYZ Dimensions, pays tribute to generations of fishermen trawling the lake for recreation and commerce.
Synergy, the work by Kane Minogue from Studio 303, was made using an extensive range of recycled metal objects to encourage respect for the lake and life within it.
Split, by David Bell, has been seen previously in the Sculptures at Killalea festival and has now found a permanent home by the lake. It's made from corten steel, representing a shape found in nature.
Other giant works to look out for include Ghost Trees for Spirit of Place standing as guardian totems, Fauna of the Lake standing as two large wood carvings of animal species found in the area, Window to the Soul reflecting leisure and recreational activities, a giant turtle Leatherbacks, and Illawarra Dreaming by two of the region's Indigenous elders Aunties Lorraine Brown and Narelle Thomas.
Sculptures at Nan Tien Temple
A new summertime public sculpture festival has begun around the grounds of Australia's largest Buddhist temple in Berkeley.
Nan Tien Temple have 15 large sculptures by artists from around the state on show until March, coinciding with their Harmony exhibition which is inside their public art gallery.
** Please note this list is not exhaustive, as the Illawarra has many wonderful galleries, big and small, wide and varied.