About the collection
In 1995, USC purchased its first artwork establishing the beginnings of what would become the USC Art Collection. This acquisition was Sower asking spirits to bless the seeds 1995 by Zimbabwean artist Nicholas Mukomberanwa (1940–2002) and was symbolic of the ambitions of the fledgling institution.
The purchase of art so early in our history also represents how art has been valued and woven into the fabric of USC from the beginning. From the commissioning of major outdoor artworks to the integration of existing holdings into new building projects, the presence of art across our network of campuses—from northern Brisbane to the Fraser Coast—has been a priority.
USC actively acquires for the collection. We have a strong commitment to collecting artworks by Australian artists that have been made within the lifetime of USC (1996 onwards), Queensland artists with a focus on works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and by artists who have a connection to USC and its regions.
At over 850 works, our collection is the largest public collection of art on the Sunshine Coast and has been greatly enriched through the generosity of many individuals. Major donations and bequests have included the John Mainwaring Collection in 2012 and the Arija and Richard Austin Bequest in 2015.
Works are made available for loan to galleries and museums across Australia for exhibitions.
Access to our collection
USC Art Gallery is currently closed for redevelopment and due to the evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are carefully assessing when we will reopen. During this time we will be working towards enhancing online access to our collection for students, staff, researchers, gallery and museum professionals, writers, and our community.
For the moment you can enjoy a sample of works from our collection by following the links below.
In 2012, John Mainwaring generously donated 81 artworks from his private collection to USC via the Cultural Gifts Program.
In 2015, Arija Austin bequeathed the Austins’ personal art collection of over 200 works to USC.
Since 2002, USC has acquired a large number of works from the Central and Western Desert regions of Australia.
We prioritise collecting Australian art made within the lifetime of USC (from 1996 onwards).
USC is committed to acquiring works by recognised artists who have a connection to USC and our regions.