At the start of the year, the Yarra Valley Community School was offered 3 projects that they could work on for their personal development skills unit. Graffiti Art was one of the projects which ran for six months. Graffiti artist Brad Colling lead the project team with Kelly Charman (YVCS Teacher) which covered a wide range of graffiti skills that included; t-shirt screen printing, canvasses and the star attraction the Men’s Shed sign.
The project wasn’t just making works of art, the students also learnt about the effects of graffiti in the community and graffiti removal. Sessions on this topic were conducted by Mark and Julie Hanman (Yarra Ranges Council Youth Services Officer) which saw the kids get involved with graffiti removal and helped them gain an understanding of the difference between street art and vandalism.
The main project was the sign for Ben’s Shed in Yarra Junction, this being the star attraction the students got out amongst the community to gather feedback and listen to suggestions. The first step was to have a meeting with the Ben’s Shed committee to discuss the history of Ben’s shed, and what they would like to see on the sign. This consultative approach was driven by the students who met frequently with shed members to ensure the project was on track and to their liking. They researched the history of Yarra Junction and spoke to local business to get approval for the sign as well as spending many hours planning and designing the sign. Drafts of final design were presented to Ben’s Shed on regular basis to get approval after which they came back with suggestions. Once the sign got final approval the students started the big task of sanding, painting, stencilling and spraying the sign.
O’Shannassy Ward councillor Jim Child officially opened the sign launch and thanked the students and everyone involved for all their hard work. Takysha Gammon (Student -YVCS VCAL Senior) did a great job presenting to the crowd about the project and the steps taken to create the artwork piece. Other speakers included, Leigh Hardy (Ben’s Shed), Julie Hanman (master of ceremonies), Brad Colling and Kate Kite (Ben’s Shed Treasurer) who presented certificates of appreciation. Many people attended this event to celebrate a project that set about connecting young people with older members of the community. The final result complements Ben’s Shed with additional signs still to be erected over the coming months that aim to add colour and fun to the main street of Yarra Junction.
“The highlights for me was seeing it all come together. Months of planning really paid off and students benefited from the interaction with other community members”. Kelly Charman YVCS Teacher
“Linking young people with the community for me was the main highlight. The students were eager to learn and put in the hard work to get a positive result”. Brad Colling Graffiti Artist
“Graffiti vandalism (tagging) is a problem within our community. The students took a known problem and made it into an art form to be appreciated”. Julie Hanamn (Yarra Ranges Council Youth Services Officer)
A big thank you to Julie Hanman and Mark from the Shires, Brad Collings, Ben’s shed committee members and Karen Swankie (YVCS VCAL Coordinator).
Overall the project was a huge success with the community benefiting from having a new sign at no cost to them and having the opportunity to engage with young people.