The way to Gu­lar has been painted

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JU­DITH WHIT­FIELD

THE town of Gu­largam­bone came alive with creativ­ity and colour over the week­end, with the de­but of the “Pave the Way to Gu­lar” art event trans­form­ing pri­vate and pub­lic build­ings.

Ten tal­ented artists from across Aus­tralia came into town for the fes­ti­val, which ran from Thurs­day, April 5, through to Sun­day, April 8, and made their mark on ev­ery­thing from bus shel­ters, to walls, and a wa­ter tower.

Al­ready renowned for its proac­tive com­mu­nity spirit, the aim was to re­ju­ve­nate the vil­lage and bring some at­ten­tion and en­ergy back into the main street. And over the four days, that was cer­tainly achieved.

Event co-or­di­na­tor An­nie Hal­ing es­ti­mated around 1000 peo­ple vis­ited over the course of the week­end.

“It was amaz­ing to see the street full ev­ery morn­ing,” she told Dubbo Photo News. “Park­ing on Bour­bah Street was at a premium, and our shops and Two Eight Two Eight cafe were ac­tive as visitors streamed in to see what all the hype was about.”

Of­fi­cially launched on the Friday by Mem­ber for Bar­won Kevin Humphries, he spoke of the great rein­ven­tion work that the com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to achieve. Mr Humphries ad­vised at­ten­dees that with the cur­rent In­no­va­tion Event fund­ing avail­able through Des­ti­na­tion NSW, the town co-op­er­a­tive is now eli­gi­ble for $80,000 over the next three years to con­tinue their fes­ti­val work.

The cre­ative spirit con­tin­ued right across the week­end with visitors cu­ri­ous to see the works of artists in­clud­ing Claire Fox­ton, paint­ing lo­cal fig­ure Peter Simp­son on the side of the Two Eight Two Eight cen­tre of which he was the for­mer owner; John Mur­ray with his quirky emu de­sign for the bus stop; James Giddy giv­ing a bird-like makeover to the SPAR su­per­mar­ket; Rudy Kistler work­ing with the Gu­largam­bone school chil­dren to trans­form a foot­path; Jenny Mccracken who tack­led the huge wa­ter tower with her div­ing King­fisher and plenty more.

An in­ter­ac­tive paint-by-num­ber project with artist Kaff-eine was also un­der­taken on the Luke Mur­ray build­ing and the old petrol sta­tion.

“It was com­pleted in record time as par­tic­i­pants of all ages left their mark, un­der the guid­ance of our lovely Wail­wan artists who trav­elled from War­ren to as­sist,” Ms Hal­ing said.

Over 50 art­works were also pre­sented in the Me­mo­rial Hall for pur­chase, as well as work­shops, hands-on ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions, a din­ner and mu­sic per­for­mances across the week­end which added to the fes­ti­val ex­pe­ri­ence.

The trans­for­ma­tion project came about af­ter dis­cus­sions be­tween Ms Hal­ing and the Gu­largam­bone Com­mu­nity En­ter­prises Co-op­er­a­tive and street beau­ti­fi­ca­tion con­sul­tant Ali­son Dent, who stayed on through the project. Af­ter fund­ing was se­cured with the sup­port of the Coon­am­ble Shire Coun­cil and Des­ti­na­tion NSW, the Co-op con­trib­uted the rest and the fes­ti­val was locked in.

Con­cept de­signs were sub­mit­ted by the artists for con­sid­er­a­tion by coun­cil and the build­ing own­ers, with the fi­nal 10 pro­pos­als pre­sented in March. The town’s ‘blank can­vases’ were as­signed to each artist and work was com­pleted by all, save the wa­ter tower, by the close of the fes­ti­val.

The paint­ings are there to be viewed ev­ery day for the next 12 months and visitors are en­cour­aged to head to Gu­largam­bone to ex­pe­ri­ence the artis­tic flair now dec­o­rat­ing the town. ■

Above, Claire Fox­ton painted a por­trait of well-known Gu­largam­bone man Peter Simp­son on the side of Two Eight Two Eight cafe, and right, pop­u­lar Light­ning Ridge artist John Mur­ray added one of his iconic cre­ations to the bus stop... a mag­pie that fell...

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