Produced by Surf Coast Shire Council in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020, PORTAL charts the creativity that exists within the Surf Coast Shire at this unique time, as well as offering a space for demonstrating the agility with which artists of all disciplines adapt to and lead change – and what this means for their communities. 

Click on the tiles below to see past and upcoming events for PORTAL.

Elevate – for workshops and professional development opportunities.

Stories – throughout July and August, PORTAL hosted a series of facilitated discussions between Surf Coast artists and creatives. Hear our artists thoughts on space, place and artistic influence. 

Live – click here for upcoming live events and happenings that have included our Sunday Morning Sessions, in-the-world events like our #DrivewayCreations and #Friday Night In The Freeza.

See Artists for links to all participating artists and arts collectives: writers, performers, tutors and facilitators.

Our Virtual Arts Trail went live on the weekend of the scheduled Surf Coast Arts Trail, 8-9 August. Many of our local artists have created virtual studio tours where you can hear the artists speak and present their latest work in their creative spaces. 



Read more about our participating artists.
Click Here



Elevate your practice, your creativity, your wellbeing with Portal’s workshops.
Click Here



Performances, in-the-world happenings, readings and more: showcasing Surf Coast’s creative talent.
Click Here


Seniors Festival

Showcasing the creative skills of four ‘elder statespeople’ of the arts from our community.
Click Here


PORTAL is a platform for your events, your art, your ideas. If you’d like to use this platform and participate, please send us an Expression of interest.

Take a Look at What’s On in the Calendar below. Click on individual dates for more info.


december, 2020


Program Manager
Artistic Director

Harriet Gaffney

Harriet is the Artistic Director of Portal and the Arts Development Officer for the Surf Coast Shire.

Harriet’s career as a creative producer began in the early 2000’s.  She helped found and produce the Alice Desert Festival and worked as the Project Manager on the Darwin Festival.  After moving to Bali in 2008 she worked in Communications for both the Bali Spirit Festival and the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival.

Since returning to Australia she has completed a Masters in Professional Writing, won a PhD scholarship and worked for Writers Victoria, as well as freelanced as a literary professional for festivals across Australia.

Stacie Bobele

Stacie is a Jan Juc based writer and editor. Her past lives have included working as a curator and arts administrator and she has also had stints in events, communications and marketing for higher education. As a passionate advocate for the arts and environment, she has undertaken numerous voluntary roles with grass-roots organisations and arts enterprises. She currently runs her own writing and editing business, Logophilic, a business specifically developed to assist artists and creatives with the written word.

This is Stacie’s second year assisting with the delivery of the Surf Coast Arts Trail. Rather than see the COVID crisis as an impediment to Arts Trail 2020 planning, Stacie joined Harriet in seeing PORTAL as a great opportunity to transform this Surf Coast institution into an event that inspires, educates and embraces ALL the arts. Her role has largely consisted of making ideas come to life and assisting with programming. 

Stacie hosted the Elevate workshop Writing About Art in June, and she will also chair the panel discussion Art, Activism and Place on 23 August.



Michelle Conn

Local Area Coordinator

Michelle has lived in Torquay for the past decade after moving from Sydney where she worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and teacher. She shares her time between casual teaching in local primary schools, running wedding film business Folkore Films with her husband and writing and illustrating children’s books.

Michelle is the Local Area Coordinator for Torquay and Jan Juc and is responsible for liaising with approximately 30 registered artists. She is part of a team coordinating the PORTAL Postcards project and is the on-air host for the Facebook live story-time sessions.


Karen Steenbergen

Local Area Coordinator

Karen is a community artist, ceramic artist and teacher living in Torquay, having moved from Melbourne’s west 3 years ago. 

Karen is a creative who predominantly uses clay in her practice and loves helping others to discover the personal joy of making art and craft. She has been working with clay for nearly 20years and is an outdoorsy person who is inspired by our beautiful Surf Coast environment; the birds, animals, architecture, bush, beach and it’s people and visitors. 

Karen is the Surf Coast Arts Trail coordinator for the Lorne, Fairhaven and Aireys inlet area.   ‘I  love being able to help local artist peers to ourselves out of our comfort zone and build new skills for the new #notthesurfcosstartstrail and PORTAL website.  It’s exciting to hear new ideas bubbling that may never have appeared in a ‘normal’ arts trail year’. 

Mollie Vaughan

Local Area Coordinator

Mollie Vaughan is a photographic artist based in Bells Beach, Australia. It is through her experimental hybridisation of both analogue and digital photography that she creates uncanny perceptions of nature. Her photographs consider photography as a process that lies in the ever-expanding boundary between art and science, the real and the unreal. She brings this photographic experience, along with her passion for supporting artists and the creative industries to the Surf Coast Arts Trail 2020.

Mollie’s primary role is the coordination of Bellbrae/Anglesea artists, providing the technical and social support that they need even if it is as simple as a phone call or a visit to an artist’s studio. She has also hosted the workshop, ‘How to photograph artwork’ as part of our Elevate program and co-curates the Surf Coast Arts Trail’s Instagram account. 


Miranda Jarvis

Local Area Coordinator

I am an emerging artist, graduating from Deakin University with a BCA (Hons) in 2018. My practice explores materiality, environment, place and memory. My processes are intuitive and often collaborative, working across photography, writing, painting, walking and conversation. I like to spend time in the garden and walk my dog, Meg. 

My role as Hinterland LAC has been full of variety. I’ve spent lots of time in discussion with our amazing PORTAL team, generating ideas and inspiration. I’ve talked with artists and made new connections throughout the Shire. I’ve learnt new skills working on our website and various projects that are bringing new audiences to the artists within our communities. I am running the Walking with Artists Project & interviewing the wonderful Iris Walshe-Howling as part of the Women in Conversation Series. 

Website: himiranda.squarespace.com


Surf Coast Shire spans the traditional lands of the Wadawurrung and Eastern Maar people.

We acknowledge them as the Traditional Owners and Protectors of this place.

We acknowledge their ancestors who cared for the land, rivers and sea – and all of its creatures – for thousands of generations.

We pay our respects to elders past, present and future who continue on this path.