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CoCA Cairns set for transformation

The Centre of Contemporary Arts (CoCA) Cairns will be upgraded by the Queensland Government in 2018-19 as part of a four-year $17.5 million Arts Infrastructure Investment Fund to revitalise state-owned assets to generate cultural and economic outcomes.

A revitalised CoCA will strengthen the local arts sector and help expand cultural tourism in Far North Queensland, opening up new performance and creative opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and providing rich cultural experiences to new audiences.

The designs were developed through consultation with stakeholders, including the local arts community and Traditional Owners.

View the design plans here (PDF) (3.24 MB)

Plans include:

  • a redesign of the building’s facade and entry to reflect the centre’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts focus
  • flexible office space for existing tenants, emerging organisations and individual arts workers
  • upgraded theatre equipment and amenities
  • new studio spaces for arts participation and development activity
  • improved theatre access, including new foyer
  • enhanced access to gallery and retail spaces, and the opportunity to incorporate new public artworks.


Arts Queensland appointed local firm TPG Architects to carry out the design work with support from dancer and choreographer Pauline Lampton and visual artist Brian Robinson. An arts community consultation session was held on 15 June 2018. Download TPG Architects’ presentation from this session, featuring the early design concepts. (Please note, the concept drawings and photos in the presentation are for illustrative purposes only).

Download TPG Architects’ presentation here (PDF) (20.43 MB)

Arts Queensland thanks the local arts sector members who provided feedback on the early design concepts for the CoCA Cairns.


For general enquiries on the CoCA revitalisation project, please email

Project timeline: