Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW student makes a splash on Coffs art scene

TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour

Growing up with pencils and paintbrushes in hand, proud Gumbaynggirr woman Alanna Shorter is taking inspiration from her Indigenous culture and native Australian animals to turn her love of art into a thriving career. 

The 29-year-old TAFE NSW student has launched her own business and her artworks are brightening up prominent Coffs Harbour locations such as Headspace, Fresh Dental Care, Coffs Hospital Mental Health Unit and Korora lookout.

With the arts taking a hit due to bushfires and COVID-19, the industry is starting to bounce back stronger than ever. Identified as a creative industries hotspot due to the diverse and innovative sector operating in the region , the Coffs Coast is second to only Sydney for jobs advertised the creative sectors industry. 

After the honour of being awarded the Saltwater Freshwater Award for Aboriginal Art in 2019, Alana’s work has been showcased at the annual Sculptures of the Sea and Vivid exhibitions in Sydney. She has been painting commissioned artworks across the Mid North Coast and responding to local demand for her work on the Coffs Coast.

“Demand is definitely increasing in Coffs Harbour, people are realising the community engagement benefits of art, and appreciation for it has grown in our area,” said Ms Shorter.

Art within workspaces helps communicate key brand messages in a non-verbal way and art within the community plays a fundamental role in creating strong social bonds as well as promoting economic health. 

Ms Shorter says she chose to study an Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW because she knows the teachers are working artists.
“Learning from experienced TAFE NSW teachers, who are active in the local industry, exposes me to new contacts to leverage employment opportunities in the future.”
Current students will continue to study the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW this term using web conferencing technology and self-initiated practical work. This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies.  
TAFE NSW has adopted connected learning as a new mode of delivery because it supports social distancing during COVID-19 and allows students to be connected to their teacher. In many cases, this still supports students to demonstrate their competency in their courses.

For more information about TAFE NSW art qualifications, please visit or call 131 601. 

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media Officer,