In the course of just over two hours a group of South Grafton teenagers transformed a run down bus shelter in South Grafton into a vibrant and colourful facility.
And last Friday, what is expected to be a larger group of primary school-aged children, transformed an adjoining 70m picket fence into a work of art.
The two projects are part of a crime prevention project titled Just Don’t, which is being implemented by the Clarence Valley Council. The project, funded by the Department of Justice, aims to implement a number of strategies across the Clarence Valley to improve community awareness about the different types of malicious damage and how to report incidents to police through the Police Assistance Line number, 131 444.
Last week’s community art initiative attracted about 50 young people and was implemented at Bob Liddiard Park, a recognised hotspot for malicious damage incidents. Following community consultations, council is helping the community with the art projects as well as building a modified kick-about space.
Council and artist Ash Johnston of Open Studio, met the Grafton Elders Group and Camellia Cottage for approval and consultation for the project and the artwork.
This is what some of the artist participants in last week’s transformation of the bus shelter had to say.
• Rayshell Strong, 15: “I am glad to be involved in this project because it makes us take pride in our work.”
• Tarika Wilson, 20: “I loved it. I think everyone having a part of the mural means everyone gets ownership, and it helps make it pretty.”
• Taybitha Wilson, 17: “I enjoyed it myself and it gives the youth a chance to show our art work and our pride and joy for the town we live in, and we can show respect.”
Artist Ash Johnston guided the participants through the work and said he was thrilled with the result.
“It was a great afternoon painting with the local kids and they really appreciated being given the opportunity to contribute to a positive public art piece,” he said.
“As we started to run out of daylight, a few kids ran off and organised their parents to come and shine their headlights on the wall so we could get the job finished. They were proud of what we were doing and they didn’t want to stop.”