Strength­en­ing ties at Rain­bow

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Oa­sis Rain­bow lead­ers are cel­e­brat­ing vis­i­ta­tion fig­ures af­ter the re­lease of the project’s workshop, events and work­ing bee numbers for the past year.

These fig­ures show The Oa­sis hosted nearly 900 peo­ple at more than 30 work­shops and ed­u­ca­tional events through­out the first 12 months of the Small Towns Trans­for­ma­tion Project in the south­ern Mallee com­mu­nity of Rain­bow.

Col­lec­tively, par­tic­i­pants have spent more than 2000 hours learn­ing, con­nect­ing and help­ing to turn the town’s old pri­mary school into a vi­brant meet­ing place and hub.

The two-year project is funded by Re­gional Arts Vic­to­ria and aims to cre­ate an oa­sis of plants, art, sights, sounds and smells at Rain­bow.

Project man­ager Adelle Rohrsheim said al­most a dozen artists were in­volved in the first year and had de­liv­ered to schools, adults and vis­i­tors from be­yond the re­gion.

“That does not in­clude guest speak­ers, the gar­den­ing ex­perts who helped us hone our prop­a­gat­ing skills and the art groups and in­di­vid­u­als from well be­yond Rain­bow who have been in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing our busy first 12 months,” she said.

“We also can’t for­get the com­mit­tee mem­bers and vol­un­teers who spent count­less hours on the week­end and dur­ing the week work­ing on the school re­fur­bish­ment and the new gar­den.

“Our records show that a mas­sive 17 work­ing bees, large and small, were run dur­ing late 2016 and through­out 2017.

“These in­dus­tri­ous helpers amassed more than 1600 hours of vol­un­teer labour, some­thing that has been cru­cial in the project’s suc­cess to date.”

Ms Rohrsheim said an­other high­light of the first year was the many vis­i­tors who had called in to check out the project’s progress and of­fer help.

“My Wed­nes­day open­ing days have never been dull, with more than 250 vis­i­tors through the door,” she said.

“The re­sult is an im­pres­sive new low-wa­ter gar­den, a re-painted and re­vi­talised school build­ing, art works dot­ted around the site and a brand new pro­jec­tor bike to beam our dig­i­tal art work onto build­ings and screens around the town.

“We have learned how to light paint, more about Malleefowl, we’ve wel­comed back Jeparit-born artist Michael Shiell, re-con­nected with the re­gion’s Abo­rig­i­nal her­itage and we have cre­ated a range of art op­por­tu­ni­ties for our stu­dents.”

Ms Rohrsheim said Rain­bow’s Turbo Gallery had hosted works from these ac­tiv­i­ties and the town would soon wel­come vis­it­ing artists to the al­most-com­pleted artists’ res­i­dence owned and man­aged by res­i­dent Dianne Dick­son.

“It all adds up to a mul­ti­tude of achieve­ments that the en­tire com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the many sup­port­ive busi­nesses and vol­un­teers, should be jus­ti­fi­ably proud of,” she said.

“But it is not over. Next we are look­ing to add to this list as we pre­pare for an in­ter­na­tional dance project in April and mu­sic in the grounds in spring.”

Small Town Trans­for­ma­tions is a State Gov­ern­ment pro­gram, man­aged by Re­gional Arts Vic­to­ria.

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