Archibald Prize lifts local economy

Thousands attend regional tour on exhibition at Gallery

Wednesday 17 February, 2021

Hosting one of Australia's best known art competitions, the Archibald Prize, at Tweed Regional Gallery is having a significant economic boost for Murwillumbah.

Queues of art lovers eager to see the exhibition have been commonplace since the 2020 Archibald Prize Regional Tour opened to the public on Friday 22 January 2021.

In less than a month, 16,307 people have come to appreciate the exhibition, with the busiest week being from 8-14 February when 5,595 passed through the doors.

Despite the numbers, the Gallery team is ensuring that COVID-19 protocols and restrictions remain in place with QR code check-ins and capacity limits.

"We have had numerous businesses in Murwillumbah tell us that the exhibition has been a real positive for the town," Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM said.

"It's drawing visitors from far and wide, especially from Queensland."

But it's not just the Gallery and cafe Gallery by Bacaro that are busy.

"The Gallery DownTown in central Murwillumbah has also seen a steady rise in patronage as visitors 'discover' our flourishing local art culture," she said.

Murwillumbah business owner Lisa Hartshorne, who runs Bowerbird Emporium on Wollumbin Street in the town, said she'd had more customers because of the exhibition.

"The 2020 Archibald Prize Regional Tour has been an absolute bonus to my business, and many other small businesses in the town and surrounding villages," Ms Hartshorne said.

Mayor of Tweed Cr Chris Cherry was delighted to see that the exhibition was having a wider benefit to the community.

"It's been an honour for the Shire to host the 2020 Archibald Prize Regional Tour," Cr Cherry said.

"The exhibition has provided a clear uplift to local businesses and is another example of why the Tweed is such a great place to live, work and visit."

The 2020 Archibald Prize Regional Tour continues at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre until Sunday 7 March 2021. 

To avoid the rush, plan a trip from about 2.30pm onwards when the crowds ease up slightly and the demand for parking isn't as great.

This is a ticketed exhibition. Tickets are available for purchase by visiting

For more information, visit