Mu­ral comes to life www.corowafreep­ress.com.au BY ALAN­NAH GREEN­WOOD

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

A mu­ral fos­ter­ing com­mu­nity spirit and in­volve­ment in the beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity of Sanger Street, Corowa, has been un­veiled.

In­di­vid­ual artists and groups have been in­volved in the cre­ation, in­clud­ing school chil­dren who painted five long pan­els abut­ting the ap­prox­i­mate 35m long wall, with the river as­pect along the cen­tre of the whole pan­elled wall.

Friends of Sanger Street was first es­tab­lished fol­low­ing a pub­lic meet­ing held on Oc­to­ber 17, 2013 with their main aim to dis­cuss how to im­prove the ap­pear­ance of Sanger Street.

More than 40 peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing and the Friends of Sanger Street was born.

Mem­ber An­nie Pig­gin told the Free Press that the group was thrilled to see the mu­ral come to life af­ter years of hard work.

“The cen­tre of any town is its shop­ping street and we be­lieved that re­vi­tal­is­ing the cen­tre has a flow-on ef­fect,” she said.

“One of the main is­sues raised at the first pub­lic meet­ing was the vast, blank Wool­worths wall in the heart of Sanger Street and this where our idea of a mu­ral was pro­posed.

“The idea was to do an artis­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Mur­ray River from the Oven Junc­tion to near Dight’s Hill and the draw­ings were based on the river draw­ings in the book ‘River of Is­lands’ by Kath and Leon Bent­ley pub­lished in 1985.”

Ini­tial ap­proval for the fi­nal de­sign for the mu­ral was ob­tained from Corowa Shire Coun­cil and Wool­worths in July 2014.

In March 2015 Pam Fredericks and Chris Up­ton ran a work­shop for artists in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing a panel and the artists who ap­plied to be in­volved started work on their pan­els.

The River was laser cut from ox­i­dis­ing steel plate in April 2015, pro­vided by Fo­cus Engi­neer­ing and Up­ton’s Engi­neer­ing who laser cut the steel.

In May 2015 pri­mary school stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in work­shops with abo­rig­i­nal artist Eddy Har­ris to pre­pare their art­works.

An­nie said the new owner of Wool­worths was very proac­tive in as­sist­ing with the mu­ral and had the front wall of the store re­painted in prepa­ra­tion for the mu­ral in Novem­ber 2015.

“Lo­cal painter Sam Car­pen­ter squeezed the job into his busy sched­ule so the mu­ral could hope­fully go up be­fore Christ­mas 2015,” she said.

“But un­for­tu­nately un­ex­pected de­lays in fi­nal­is­ing the con­tract be­tween the par­tic­i­pat­ing par­ties took another eight months.

“The owner of the build­ing fa­cil­i­tated this process at her own cost, we are just so thank­ful for her sup­port.”

It wasn’t un­til the fol­low­ing Au­gust that Fo­cus Engi­neer­ing in­stalled the river which left res­i­dents ques­tion­ing what would ap­pear next.

Af­ter years of prepa­ra­tion 79 pan­els were in­stalled on the wall by a team of artists, friends and vol­un­teers from the Com­mu­nity Gar­den, com­pleted on Novem­ber 15 and 16.

An­nie said the com­mit­tee would like to thank ev­ery­one in­volved in the mu­ral jour­ney for their as­sis­tance and sup­port.

“We would like to thank all those who con­tributed both fi­nan­cially and in kind to the cre­ation of mu­ral; in­clud­ing the Corowa RSL, Corowa Li­ons, South­ern Phone Com­pany, Corowa Car Club, Up­ton’s Engi­neer­ing, Fo­cus Engi­neer­ing, Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil, Corowa Com­put­ers, and all the artists,” she said.

“We are also grate­ful for gain­ing a Com­mu­nity Artist Sup­port Pro­gramme (CASP) grant from Re­gional Arts NSW for indige­nous artist Ed­die Har­ris to run work­shops in pri­mary schools with small groups of stu­dents to cre­ate pan­els de­pict­ing an­i­mal tracks.

“Thank you to the par­tic­i­pat­ing pri­mary schools and the ten Corowa High School stu­dents, un­der the guid­ance of Michelle Ste­wart who con­tributed paint­ings of the pat­terns found on lo­cal rep­tiles.”

An­nie said fi­nally the com­mit­tee would like to thank the tal­ented group of 25 artists that through their work have beau­ti­fied Sanger Street.

“Thank you Chris­tine Up­ton, Bev­erly Wil­son, Vera Reeves, Ken Ash­ley, Jenny King, Alexan­dra Ware, Brenda Tud­den­ham, Suzanna Cong, Re­becca Kos, Pat Mil­lar, Pam Fredericks, Bethany Thon­ber, Jane Keane, Glenda Mackay, Heather McGuire, Pat Ev­ery, Suzi Scott, Bri­ony Wil­let, An­nie Boake, Jo Boake, Tayla Doyle, Bree Wil­let, David Bar­wick, San­dra Bar­wick and Suzanne Ca­mac your work is in­cred­i­ble,” she said.

Friends of Sanger Street mem­bers and vol­un­teers Rob Davis, Fred DÁ­gostin, Vera Reeves, An­nie Pig­gin, Chris Up­ton, Glenda Mackay and Wendy Ey­ers pic­tured in front of the new mu­ral.

A mu­ral with a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment theme has come to life on what once was a blank wall in Sanger Street.

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