Street Art Mural for Local School

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On a cold winter weekend, street art collective We Spray Weekends (also known as simply, WSW) volunteered their time and their skills to paint a vacant wall at St Kilda Park Primary School. The result is a vivid mural on a sidewall, which extends into the children’s garden and playground.

Jane Bennetts, the school’s kitchen/garden teacher realised the need to identify the space outside of the school’s perimeter. The land that surrounds the school is leased from Parks Victoria to extend the garden and play area of the students. Port Philip Council, school funds and the labor of parents fund the project. “This is a kids garden, so the primary thing was that it would match in with the vibrancy of the pencil fence (constructed by parents on a working bee) and it would show people walking past that this is a kids space. It achieved that. We put a lot of trust in the artists. “ Bennetts remarked.

Yaren Akkus photo

Yaren Akkus

Nicki Browne, an artist and parent at the school, coordinated the Mural. Browne contacted Jacqui Vidal who runs the Signed & Numbered Gallery and was invaluable in bringing the team of Artists together. WSW varies from project to project but mainly consist of 7-9 Artists. Most of them have weekday jobs and do murals on the weekends. The art team is led by Facter and consists of Hancock, P Yeah, Rad, JD, Mysterious Al (UK), Unwell Bunny, Ryan Boserio and Heesco (who has had a current solo show at Rtist Gallery, Prahran). Browne hoped the project would be a step closer in validating stencil artists. She was hoping for a “timeless mural for everybody”. She said the feedback from the children was phenomenal. “Inspiring. It’s good graffiti, not bad graffiti,” Declan, a young student explains. “I really like how creative it is and the ideas. I personally like graffiti artwork,” adds Morgan. “It is so eye catching, from prep to grade 6 students and even for the teachers. There is something we all identify with” The Principal, Jen Crabb remarked.

The garden area is beautiful and after a short stroll through the school and the yard it becomes obvious that the school is dedicated to nurturing the creative life of its young students. “Our school really values its art program, any time we were going to build the garden the mural was always a factor, I always wanted that wall to look special and tie in with the philosophy of the school.” Bennetts claimed.

There were no preliminary sketches and negotiations between the artists and the school. It was broadly agreed that it would be a nautical themed piece however the work needed to remain inspired and spontaneous. Like a conductor, Facter coordinated the work from the ground. “We do our best work thinking on the spot, so to have a design brief can be counterproductive.”

Yaren Akkus skipps mural photo

Photo by Yaren Akkus

Although street art can be sold at record prices through established art auctions and attracts tourists, its place in the art scene remains dubious. “There is almost no funding even though Melbourne is one of [the worlds] top 5 capitals in street art.” Facter laments. The mural places the street artists within a community setting of giving generously without economic considerations. Public art is a gift. A gift deeply appreciated by all.

Breakdown of artists & work: FACTER : Robot Crab, CAFFINE: Yellow girls, JD: Whale, HANCOCK: Ship  (up top), P Air : Pirate right hand side, RAD :Pirate next to treasure chest, MYS AL :Message in a bottle, UNWELL BUNNY :Treasure Chest

BISAREO: general help and bkground , HISCO.:Rat

by April Forward Nelson
Photos by Hayden Charles

 

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