‘We are hoping that these murals can provide an identity for Knox, and in turn, change perceptions about street art as a legitimate art form,’ said James.
Illegal graffiti in Knox costs thousands of dollars a year to remove and programs like these are recommended by legal government bodies to allow kids to express themselves creatively in a non-harmful way, while working with diverse groups in the community, and learning project management skills.
As part of the project, students are required to work with the street artists on every aspect of the creation of a legal wall, from liaising with the traders, working on the proposed concept for the mural, and painting the wall.
‘We really hope that through our mentorship of these kids, they can be reminded of the great things about where they live, and feel a sense of ownership over what they are creating in their community,’ said James.
Knox has a significant street and graffiti art history with several prominent artists of the genre living in or near Knox. In fact, some of these artists have become internationally renowned and now base themselves in Los Angeles, competing in regular international graffiti jams and exhibiting across the world.
Street art has been known to improve community spaces by making public spaces more inviting and bridging divides between street artists, traders and the wider community.
The first workshops with the schools were an absolute thrill for the students involved.
Catherine Watson, a teacher from Bayswater Secondary College, spoke highly about the benefits of the program for her students. With the program kicking off just after the Term 1 holidays, she believes the project will help settle some of the students back into the school routine.
‘Some of these kids can be a bit disengaged at school but just this morning they were hi fiving each other and there was a real sense of excitement about this first workshop,’ she said.