Building on Port Macquarie Hastings’ Cultural scene

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Earlier this year, we invited local artists to participate in a free mural workshop to develop their skills under the instruction of renowned artist, designer and mural aficionado, Mike Shankster.

The mural masterclass was attended by 10 local artists who have expressed an interest in creating new local public art works in the future.

The weeklong program covered the process from start to finish. Artists began by answering a brief, upscaling the design, site considerations, understanding which materials to use, and site preparation and safety considerations. They then had the opportunity to put their newfound skills to use, by collaborating on a mural site at the Town Beach amenities building.

Liesa Davies, Group Manager of Economic and Cultural Development said that programs like this are necessary to support the creative industries in our region, particularly noting recent COVID impacts.

“Public art plays an important role in creating a sense of place, it tells local stories and reflects its community’s identity.

“Through this workshop program, our aim is to upskill and create a strong diverse network of locally based visual artists who can contribute to future public and private art commissions in our region,” said Liesa.

The masterclass was offered as part of Council’s Creative Industries Professional Development Program, a COVID recovery initiative. The focus areas of the professional development program were informed by consultation with local creatives during the completion of the Cultural Economy Project in 2020.

The Project identified strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the growth of the local creative sector. To address the gaps identified, a series of workshops were offered to build capacity and capability.

In conjunction to the mural masterclass, a range of professional development workshops were held earlier in the year. These seminars covered business, marketing and promotion, and upskilling to help take local creative’s practice to the next level.

To expand networking and promotional activity, an Open Studio Weekend was held with over 20 local studios, workshops, and galleries, opening their doors to the public to profile and promote their creative practice.

A Cultural Street Sail’s project was also undertaken in partnership with Wauchope TAFE’s Cultural Arts students. Facilitated by two professional artists, TAFE students and local indigenous children from Wauchope primary schools were mentored in design principles. Their artworks were converted into street sails which have been installed throughout Port Macquarie and Wauchope. The sails will also be used during important cultural events or celebrations that take place throughout the year.

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