Monday 8 December saw the opening of the Public Art Project at Drummond Memorial Public School and was the culmination of a program funded by Arts NSW “Project iD”. A collaboration between NERAM, and Drummond, this project examined a broad range of public art practices in a multi-viewpoint exploration of identity and creative art-making. It built on Drummond Memorial Public School’s Strong, Smart & Deadly program that aims to develop pride,self-confidence, co-operation and core values for Aboriginal and CALD students. It integrated aspects of the NSW curriculum on Identity and art exploration and creation.
Students were introduced to the concept of public art and identity with a number of excursions in and around Armidale. The students took excursions to Walcha and Uralla, NERAM, the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place, Backtrack Boys, University of New England and a walking tour of Armidale’s public art works. They met several artists on their excursions and viewed numerous public artworks.
Four artists – Dominique Hopf, Daphne Wallace, Jeremy Rudge and Tina Matthews – worked with the students on art making activities including the construction and installation of 7 wire sculptures. Students learnt to use a range of tools and manipulate wire to make both large and small abstract figures. They also worked on incorporating clay modelling into masks, animals and beads to decorate the sculptures. Laszlo Szabo documented the process – download his video here.
Prior to this project the students had very little exposure to art and the art making process. Very few of the students had any real understanding or interest in this area with few opportunities to pursue arts activities in their home life. Several students displayed exceptional talent in art and through their participation in this project their creativity came to be recognised by their fellow students and teachers and their confidence grew enormously throughout this extended program.
This was an ambitious project for the students which saw their knowledge, confidence and understanding of art and art practices and the role of artists in our community develop. Incorporating aspects of different cultures into their artwork they gained a new found understanding and appreciation of different cultures.