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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Canberra street art receives funding boost

More locally produced street art is set decorate public spaces across Canberra, with 25 local artists receiving a combination of grant funding and commissions to create street art projects.

Designed to help beautify both city and suburban public areas while actively discouraging tagging, this two-pronged project will also support local artists during a time when work opportunities have largely disappeared.

Local artists will be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 under the Creative Endeavour Grants program funded to develop their own practice.

A further $311,287 will go towards local street artists who will be commissioned to undertake a range of street art projects across the ACT.

Projects, identified through community feedback, will refresh public and private facilities and amenities, including two large-scale city projects.

Proposed Canberra street art projects will include artwork at: Cooleman Court, Weston Creek; Woden squash courts; Tuggeranong Seniors Centre; Civic (two yet to be determined locations); PCYC building, Turner; City Walk ground art; Narrabundah public toilets.

The first of the commissioned works announced has already been completed at Yerrabi Pond, Gungahlin, themed around the eastern long neck turtle which inhabits the pond and other wildlife found in nearby waterways.

Canberra artist Kirrily Jordan completed the work on the Yerrabi toilet block with local Aboriginal artists, Matilda House and Annick Thompson, to complement a new turtle-themed play space nearby.

A recipient of a Creative Endeavour Grant, Jordan told Canberra Weekly the project provides artists a great opportunity to get back out and start making artwork “after COVID when artists have been so affected by the lockdown and having work cancelled and postponed”.

“For a lot of artists, it’s been a very hard time … workshops cancelled, commissions postponed, so it’s obviously had a big impact on people’s income and also exposure,” she said.

“I’m lucky that I have a part-time income that I’ve been able to rely on, but it has affected me … everything’s been delayed.”

Jordan’s grant funding will enable her to look at how she can make her existing mural practice more participatory with the community.

She will do that via a program called What Matters, where Jordan will engage the community and receive their input, then translating that feedback into a series of mural works.

“We’ve had this really unsettled time that’s been really challenging for a lot of people, so it’s about what matters for people going forward now,” she said.

“I’m just having to think now about how I do that during a period when things are still uncertain, people need to socially distance and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few months.

“I’m thinking about how some of that can be transitioned online … rather than face-to-face, which you often do when you’re doing murals, which is a really nice part of it.”

More information on the Creative Endeavour Grants and upcoming street art projects is available here.

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