UNSIGHTLY and offensive graffiti tags are the target of a new arts program which will create bright pieces of public art, while providing at-risk youth and artists with the chance to learn new skills.
The program, kicked started with a $25,000 state government grant, will bring highly skilled and revered street artists to Warrnambool to create two large-scale pieces for as yet unspecified locations around the city. The artists will also workshops with at-risk youth and local artists.
Warrnambool Art Gallery curator of exhibitions and outreach Gareth Colliton said the program would target, but not be limited to, the 18-21 age group in an effort to reduce unsightly graffiti tags. He said if young people had ownership of pieces, they were unlikely to tag.
“It certainly is a different skill set, using a spray can requires a very specific skill to get the desired result,” Mr Colliton said.
Mr Colliton said one of the works would be an indigenous-themed mural while the designs of other would be left up to the artists.
Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh joined Premier and member for South West Coast Denis Napthine in one of Warrnambool’s laneways to announce the program on Saturday. Cr Neoh said it was a great opportunity to engage young at risk people in the arts.
“Young people and our very talented local arts community have a great opportunity to learn a new skill while helping to beautify the city,” he said.
Dr Napthine said similar projects had been completed in Melbourne’s CBD and it was time the contemporary art style was brought to Warrnambool to showcase the vibrant arts culture.
“We want young people to use their energy to create beautiful designs on dedicated walls in the CBD to make the laneways more attractive spaces,” he said.
“Graffiti is a significant scourge on our landscape and there is nothing positive about illegally defacing public and private property. These alleyways are often the target of graffiti attacks, but they will now receive a colourful facelift with the talents of our talented young people.”