Extensive developments at Warrnambool College have uncovered more than layers of dust.
As pieces of art have been moved to find a new home within the Grafton Road site, paintings, drawings and collages have been discovered, dating back to the 1960s.
Warrnambool College art teacher Anthea Rafferty said the move had uncovered a treasure trove of school art history.
“We’ve found prints, paintings, photos, collages and airbrushed pieces,” she said. “Some that may have been moved around the school buildings several times over the years.”
Ms Rafferty said one of the pieces uncovered had been lost since Warrnambool Secondary College and Warrnambool North Secondary College merged in 1992 to become what is now Warrnambool College.
“Our maintenance guy Phil Lawrence took custody of a large canvas when the schools merged,” she said. “He thought it would be valuable one day so he kept it in a fan room all this time.
“It’s been fantastic to find these pieces but we also want to find out more about the artists who have created them, what they’re doing now and to build on the collection we have.”
One of the discoveries was a 1.5 metre square canvas painted in acrylic.
It was painted by 1989 former student Tracey Heaphy.
“That’s just one of 40 pieces,” Ms Rafferty said. “The oldest dates back to 1966.”
Ms Rafferty said school art had changed over time.
“It’s gone more into photography,” she said. “There’s only one black and white photograph that was printed in the dark room in our collection. Now we’re acquiring more digital prints.”
The art teacher is enthusiastic about the school’s developments.
“We’re going to have a small gallery space,” she said. “Which will be terrific because then we can have student work here and do a retrospective and have exhibitions throughout the year.”
Ms Rafferty’s is urging the community to donate to help purchase a kiln for her students.
“Students love clay. It’s a material which truly encourages hands on learning through tactile engagement,” she said. “In addition clay has a well-documented therapeutic quality that settles and calms children.”