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Community art: a work in progress

In a few months’ time, the graffti-ed wall in front of the Marton high rise block in Raglan Street, Waterloo will be transformed by a beautiful mosaic reports Dorothy McRae-McMahon in the South Sydney Herald of March 2007.

This will have been achieved with community participation in its design, joined with the skills of artist Angela Y and her trainee artist Ken. Angela will guide the project alongside her busy life with several children, one of whom is terminally ill. Ken, who is already a painter, will also add some music to the gatherings of local people who participate.

When we watched the beginnings of the sharing of ideas, we saw people of different ages and ethnicities enjoying drawing their ideas of flower shapes as they knelt around the large canvas which Angela had provided on the lawn outside the Marton building. By the end of the first session, you could already see the potential for something bright, beautiful and creative.

Michael Shreenan, the Community Development Worker from The Factory, told the Herald that 10 local community agencies are co-operating in this Mosaic Project and they hoped that there would be more to follow. He saw the creative community effort as leading to a reduction in vandalism and an increase in respect for the Marton community recreational area, such as its gardens, the play area and its surrounding wall. He is hoping for an enhanced sense of ownership and belonging for young people in the area and the building of relationships between old and young. He also believes that the meeting of people from different cultural backgrounds, as they share in the mosaic creation, will increase people’s knowledge and understanding of different cultures.

The scene on 23 February augured well for the fulfilling of Michael’s hopes. Angela was surrounded by people drawing and colouring, dogs joined them to watch the process, Ken plucked away at his guitar and three women sang gently alongside. The sun shone through the trees near the Marton Garden and little children leapt around among it all. Everyone enjoyed the delicious free barbie lunch provided by Kidspeak.

There will be further events held over the coming months and the whole project will be completed and launched with a Gala Event on the 15 June 2007. Watch this space or, better still, go along and be part of it!

For further information: Michael M Shreenan Ph: 8399 1011 Fax: 9310 4141 Web:

Source: South Sydney Herald March 2007