ON Monday and Tuesday, September 17 and 18, Narooma High School (NHS) held the first sessions for the Narooma ‘Swimming in Art’ public mural project.
The sessions involved high school arts students as well as a handful of children from Cobargo and Bodalla primary schools as two art rooms were converted into a huge studio to develop the theme of the mural.
It was a great success with children listening to the history of the area from Indigenous artists Cheryl Davison and Don Atkinson, and writer (aerosol artist) Tim Phibs.
The students then each contributed to the design of the mural and Tim and Cheryl put paint to paper to get a feel for one part of the overall image.
The project is being facilitated by Lin Schroder of NHS Art Department with support from Eurobodalla Shire Council.
Late last year, discussions between Ms Schroder and Eurobodalla Shire Council facilities management coordinator, Chris Tague sparked the idea for the mural project.
Envisaged as an educational enrichment and community development project with a point of difference, the mural would aim to represent the shared cultural landscape of the Narooma area, drawing on the visual arts practices of a range of artists in residence with close connections to the region and involving local school students.
A 43 metre long external wall at the Narooma Indoor Swimming Centre was chosen for the site.
In March 2012, a grant from the Country Area Support Program (CASP) was won enabling the three local artists to be commissioned as artists in residence during the execution of the mural.
Further support for the project was pledged by the Australian National University for the development of the mural through the ANU partnerships program, enhancing student outcomes from selected regional schools.
A team of Sista Speak students and Cherrie Morley – an Aboriginal girl’s wellbeing program- and the ANU held a series of workshops at each of the partnership schools, Bodalla, Bermagui, Cobargo, Narooma and Central Tilba public schools in preparation for the mural and working with the artists and high school students.
Year 11 Art students are contributing with drawings and etchings executed over a term, and Year 10 Art students are exploring work experience with the artists in residence, a selection of Sista Speak and PIE students (Partnerships in Industry and Education), as well as six students from each of the partnership schools.
Narooma High School has a strong history of public art with murals painted by the students becoming a trademark signature and attraction around the school, community and further afield to Canberra.
The week of October 8 to 12 will bear witness to a profound event at the Narooma Swimming Pool Wall, Blue Water Drive, opposite Narooma Sport and Leisure Centre. If you would like to be involved or contribute in any way please contact Lin Schroder firstname.lastname@example.org