Strengthening ties at Rainbow
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.