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School children’s artwork reinvigorating tired walls

Tuesday 13 October 2015

School children’s artwork reinvigorating tired walls

Glenholme School students received a welcome back-to-school surprise yesterday (12 October) when they saw their artwork on a neighbourhood wall for the first time.

Rotorua Lakes Council, Glenholme School and Ranolf Superette have been working together to transform the local dairy’s unsightly wall into a source of community pride.

Council community arts advisor, Marc Spijkerbosch, said he had earlier been enroute to meet with Glenholme School staff, to discuss ideas for their upcoming Art Week, when he noticed the nearby Ranolf Superette wall was looking shabby and covered in graffiti.

“I suggested that creating a mural for the wall might be a suitable Art Week project that could involve most of the school while also helping to beautify the neighbourhood. And they agreed. I then approached the dairy owner for permission and he was also keen on the idea.”

Mr Spijkerbosch received around 200 designs from the students which he assembled into five large mural compositions. The murals then took a week for rotating groups of children aged 6 to 11 to complete. While the mural panels were being painted in a classroom, school caretaker Erik Jansen and Dan Philips refreshed the dairy wall with a coat of bright red paint.

“I had extremely positive comments from local residents while putting up the murals over the school holidays, especially from older kids walking past,” said Mr Spijkerbosch. “There’s been real community ownership on this project which is a fantastic outcome.”

Glenholme School principal, Nancy Macfarlane, said it was a “fantastic opportunity for the tamariki” (children) to show their pride in Glenholme and its cultural connections to Ngati Whakaue.

“The three inside panels depict Ngati Whakaue legends, while the two outer panels demonstrate what the students love about Glenholme School and the Glenholme area.

“Monique Palmer and Sue Edwards worked alongside Marc to ensure the tamariki created five amazing panels that will create pride and connection - connection with the school, with Glenholme and our culture and identity.

“This project was extremely suitable for our 2015 Art Week, and was just one of many incredible creations. The students are extremely excited and proud to showcase their creations and will ensure that their pride extends to the care and maintenance of the shopping area and their artworks.”

The Ranolf Superette revamp follows another mural project that Mr Spijkerbosch and local schools undertook at the Selwyn Heights shopping centre earlier this year.

Kaitao Middle School, Selwyn Primary School and Kea Street Specialist School were joined by local residents, police and shop owners to beautify the rundown and heavily tagged complex with a complete new paint job, new fun murals and plantings.

Mr Spijkerbosch said the murals and plants not only revitalised the shopping complex aesthetically, but also enriched community identity, spirit and pride.

“This project was an absolute success, highlighting how real ownership can be achieved through key partnerships and community empowerment and participation.”

Mr Spijkerbosch said both projects aligned with the work of the council’s Creative Communities Portfolio and supported the Rotorua 2030 goal of ‘inclusive, liveable and safe neighbourhoods with a sense of place…’


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