Plans ahead for new facade at art gallery

A PUBLIC art workshop will be held next month to brainstorm for ideas to re-develop the front facade of the Creative Arts Gallery.

Set down for Sunday, August 4, from 10.30am to 12.30pm, at the Community College in Chandos Street, the session will be introduced and conducted by an experienced public artist.

Gunnedah Shire Council Cultural Development Officer, Susan Wilson, said the project has been thrown open to the community, in line with the earlier redevelopment of the Mooki Room and impressive red gum sculpture courtyard at The Civic.

“The original project actually included a water feature at the front of the gallery and a group of Aboriginal women have already created the tiles for decoration,” Susan said.

“For various reasons, it was put on the backburner and now it is hoped to get it up and running with creativity from the community.”

The Rainbow Serpent water feature, started in 2004, was developed by Glen Innes artists, Max Powell and Bronwyn McKean, from drawings completed by Aboriginal leader, Ellen Draper.

Workshops were conducted by Mavis Stone, to create circular tablets that will be installed in the water feature.

Each circular element is created in mosaic and depicts designs by each individual artist working on the project, who have drawn inspiration from Gunnedah’s bird and river life, local 

animals, childhood memories and Aboriginal  dreamtime stories.

Project co-ordinator Jill Watkins said the artists created designs that reflect how they identify with Gunnedah

The original plans include 30 circular design elements installed into the three-dimensional, 8m x 3.5m, water feature.

The sculpture would sit almost one metre off the ground and incorporate a water-filled serpent, recessed from a platform, in the shape of a traditional carrying bowl.

The water would flow from the serpent’s mouth to a bowl at ground level, then reticulate back to the tip of the tail, with the top of the platform covered with glass mosaic.

Susan said the project will complete the original design plan, which included a full-size water mural created by local artists, potters and members of the community, under the guidance of  Max Powell and Bronwyn McKean, who also designed the impressive redgum sculpture visible through a glass wall in the courtyard.

“People may have ideas for light, sculpture or sound an perhaps changing the brick facade to blend in with the Town Hall and theatre,” she said.

“Both children and adults are welcome to have their say in this community project – those who created tiles for the water feature and red gum sculpture feel a connection with it when they visit The Civic or the gallery.

“At this stage we are hoping to get some ideas, which of course would have to go to council for approval.”

The Cultural Precinct project was launched in 1998, with the linkage, between The Civic and the Creative Arts Centre 

completing Stage 2 of the masterplan, followed by the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the Town Hall.

The workshop is free and morning tea will be served.

• For further information contact Susan Wilson (6740 2271) or by email: susanwilson@infogunnedah.com.au

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