The Arts

Cultural venues

Tanks Arts Centre

Tanks Arts Centre is situated in the Cairns Botanic Gardens precinct, just 4km north of the city’s CBD, the centre is an iconic and innovative multi-use, contemporary arts facility housed in three converted World War 2 naval oil storage tanks, and set amidst a lush rainforest backdrop.

Ticketed events at Tanks are ticketed through Cairns' own ticketing agency Ticketlink. Many events at Tanks are suitable for school groups, from prep to year 12, and special group discounts are often available.

Munro Martin Parklands (MMP)

Munro Martin Parklands (MMP) is Cairns' newest community gathering place complete with an outdoor performance space. The Parklands boast tropical plantings, vine-covered pergolas and arbours and an open-air plaza to encourage passive, casual use of the facility.

Munro Martin Parklands is open to the public from 6am to 8.30pm, seven days a week except on ticketed event days.

Note: When attending events at the Parklands, please be sure to dress appropriate to the weather and be considerate when using umbrellas as they can hinder the view of other patrons.

Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC)

At the Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) you will witness innovative and debut performances in addition to a well-crafted mix of classics and revived theatrical pieces. With multiple performance spaces across the CPAC site, the versatility of the venue enables the presentation of a variety of events including theatre, music, dance, contemporary circus, opera, film and comedy.

CPAC is committed to providing every opportunity for children and students of all ages to be exposed to the performing arts. We take pride in the number of shows we are able to present each year that are suitable for various age groups.  We aim to make it as easy as possible for teachers to organise excursions to our venue and we also provide information on our web site detailing show synopsis, teachers notes and links to further support material well in advance of shows performance dates.

  • Visit the CPAC website for more information and details of upcoming performances.

School of Arts building

Phone 4051 5582 or contact via email or via the Museum's website.

Cairns Museum

The Cairns Museum contains four permanent and one temporary gallery showcasing the story of Cairns from the Indigenous landscape through to the tourist gateway, the Great Barrier Reef.  It has a range of programs designed to bring local history to your students and to complement the programs of International education providers. It also runs an outreach program that can bring local history to your school. Museum opening and closing times can be adapted to accomodate student groups.

Cairns Historical Society Research Centre

The Cairns Historical Society Research Centre is located within the Cairns Museum.  The collection contains more than 60,000 items of personal, professional and Government papers and ephemera; books; unpublished reports; newspapers; photographs; journal articles and maps covering Cardwell to Normanton and north to the Torres Strait, with Cairns a particular focus.  Email queries are welcome and researchers can pull together materials from the collection, copy or digitise if you are unable to visit in person.


Tanks Arts Centre School Tours and Workshops

Take your students on a free, guided tour of the Tanks Arts Centre – and let us tailor this to suit your specific age group needs and curriculum objectives, with topics covered including:

  • History - exploring the role the Tanks played in WWII and how the oil storage facility was used
  • Visual Art - with a curator’s talk about a current exhibition
  • Venue Management - with a behind-the-scenes tour of a multi-arts centre
  • Architecture - with a talk about the design challenges and solutions for the Tanks Arts Centre and/or the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre

Tours include up to half an hour with a Tanks Arts Centre staff member plus self-guided inspection of the current exhibition and site.

School visits are welcome any time during opening hours, but guided tours must be booked.

TO BOOK A TOUR: or phone 4032 6600


Cairns' strong film culture is reflected in the Cultural Services annual program, which includes the annual Understory Film Festival, Tanks Round Cinema program, CPAC Cinema program and the screenPLAY workshops.

Understory Film Festival

The Understory Film Festival encourages local independent, student, emerging and professional film makers in the North Queensland region to create short films to enter a competition for awards and prizes. The objectives of the film festival are to showcase local talent, build local industry capacity, award achievement and audience development in short film culture.

Tanks Round Cinema: The Edge of Film Culture

These are specially selected screenings of high-quality arthouse, independent and foreign films.  Screenings are suited to film enthusiasts willing to explore the further edge of cinema culture.  Tanks Round Cinema is presented by Tanks Arts Centre in partnership with End Credits Film Club, these

CPAC Cinema

Cairns Performing Arts Centre and End Credits Film Club present a curated selection of genres encompassing foreign, independent and film festival screenings, of titles rarely seen in commercial cinema.


screenPLAY is interactive and fun film classes for children in a bid to share stories from the region that have been written, acted and filmed by kids for kids. Films produced are screened at the Cairns Children's Festival in May each year and submitted to Understory Film Festival as well.

Arts residencies

Multiarts Residency program

The Artist in Residence program has been developed by Tanks Arts Centre to appeal and cater to a range of arts practitioners including visual arts, music, writing, performance, multi-media and community cultural development. Opportunities exist for short and long term projects, especially those that have a connection to or presentation outcome at Tanks Arts Centre.

Applications are welcome from all parties, with no set application deadlines.  We encourage creative ideas from local, national and international artists and community groups. Accommodation during the Residency period is also available.

Internships: Arts and Science Residency Program

The aim of the program is to attract professional and student artists and scientists from around the world and house them in an environment conducive to an idea exchange on their experience of our region.

Sister Cities Residencies

Tanks Residency Program has a special exchange program for the artists and communities of our sister cities. Artists from these cities are encouraged to develop projects that aim to increase awareness and understanding between the peoples of our cities. View the full list of Cairns Sister Cities.

Children's events

Council owns and operates three of the city's key performance venues which attract national and international acts as well as providing a platform for local artists.

School and group bookings

We take pride in the number of shows presented each year that are suitable for school children of all ages.  We endeavour to schedule child-friendly shows at times to suit school attendance, with special group discounts available.

You can access information via the TicketLiNK website on show synopsis, teacher's notes and links to support material (where available) well in advance of performance dates.

Visit the TicketLink website more information and to book tickets, or phone TicketLiNK on 1300 855 835

Cairns Children's Festival

Established in 2014, the Cairns Children's Festival is a two-day celebration for children aged 12 and under, and their adults. Held annually in May of each year, the festival aims to put our youngest creatives in the spotlight whilst also creating a safe and fun environment for families to explore, create and imagine.

Events are held across multiple locations and in the lead-up to the event, Council hosts a number of school engagement workshops and opportunities in the Tinkering Tank where students will contribute to installations and engage with the project in a creative manner.

For more information on program dates and event details, visit or email

Visual Arts

Tanks Arts Centre Visual Arts Program

Tanks Arts Centre hosts a variety of local and touring exhibitions, artist residencies and studio activities. The Tanks main exhibition space (Tank 4) is a unique environment in which to create and present work.

The program welcomes initiatives by artists, local schools, and community groups to develop projects that use the venue in innovative and interesting ways.

The gallery is a multi-functional exhibition and performance space catering for all art forms. These spaces are available for hire to individual artists and art organisations. The unique setting, size, shape, and durability can accommodate exhibitions and performances.

Visit the Tanks Arts Centre website for more information on hiring the gallery space.

Energy Exhibition

Energy is a must-see exhibition held in September each year, showcasing visual art produced by school students across the Cairns region. Energy presents the best young and emerging artists of the Cairns region with a level of professionalism and maturity well beyond their years.

There is the opportunity for featuring pieces to be submitted to the Creative Generations Awards.

For more information on program dates and timing, please visit

Community Murals Program

Council supports a range of community-based mural projects - especially those that contribute to revitalising and restore our neighbourhoods, communities and public spaces.

If you would like to install a mural on Council owned or controlled land, please read and complete the Community Murals Program application form ( DOC, 1.13 MB ).

Applications will be assessed by a panel against a range of criteria, including location, process and project management, the proposed artwork and budget.

For more information about the program, contact the Curator at Tanks Arts Centre on 4032 6609 or email

PICTURED: Students from St. Andrew’s Catholic College Year 12 Art Class with their mural Tropical Daze (2017). Read more about this work here.

Cairns Minecraft Servers

Calling all Minecraft players in Far North Queensland

Join over 400 local Minecraft players in workshops, creative projects and region wide building competitions. With two family friendly servers, Cairns Minecraft has something for everyone. From vanilla survival to building Cairns city to scale, players get to create, compete and socialise in a supportive community environment.

To find out more and to join in visit the website:

Regional Architectural Building Competition

Summer break 2020/21

Compete with players from across the region as we find Far North Queensland’s top Minecraft architects.

If you live in the Cairns Regional Council, Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Douglas Shire or Etheridge Shire local government areas you can enter.

Players of any age can enter for free to be in the running for a share of $1,500 worth of prizes.

The focus of the competition is to create a house using Cairns Regional Council’s Cool Homes: smart design for the tropics and Cairns Style Guide.

For full terms and conditions go to

Cairns Minecraft is part of the Flame.Arts program; a capacity building program delivered by Cairns Regional Council with a focus on creating pathways for emerging creatives, providing mentorships, skills and career development opportunities.

Last updated: 16 June 2020