Thirroul railway overpass has long been a favoured spot for graffiti and tagging – Emily Messieh from Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre is spearheading a campaign involving Wollongong City Council, St Michael’s Primary School and the RMS to combat this eye-sore with alternative artwork.
Emily met all parties met on site on Wednesday 13th of March 2013 including Renee Clegg and Lila Dimoski (WCC), Danny Sykes (St Michael’s Primary School), Adam (Street Artist), and Tenaya Davis and Damien Brunton (RMS), to confirm that this visual makeover will cover the current images and tags with a themed artwork, covering both the concrete ramp and brick wall on the south side of the stairs.
This approach will engage professional street artists to work on a design that will be discussed with RMS, WCC and the Principal of the school. The wall will be prepared in some manner, then the artists will cover the area with a themed artwork.
“When I look at this wall, I see the potential of what could be.” says Emily, “Grafitti is often seen as vandalism, but some of these young people are extremely talented, and have gifts that can be used for the wellbeing of the community they live in. Imagine the impact this wall could have in bringing tourists into Thirroul.. If a local artist was able to do a mural every 3 months, it would become a local attraction. The work could be themed around particular events in the year, could explain the history of Thirroul, could tell individual cultural group stories… the possibilities are endless.”
This is an experimental approach to solve a long term and very large area of graffiti problem. A maintenance schedule will be in place initially at 3 monthly intervals, or 6 or 12 monthly to examine the retagging and vandalism of the site.
This innovative project will be reviewed and examined as an annual or biannual opportunity for street art murals to be created in the community to coincide with the Thirroul Sea Side Arts Festival.
This approach would allow for more engagement with local youth and artists to promote the space as high quality street art site as opposed to a free-for-all graffiti space. In relation to this point it is essential that further discussions engage the Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre to ensure the people who are most likely to hit the site will not be disenfranchised but part of this great initiative.
“The aim is to hear the community’s ideas, thoughts and feedback and to each time reflect this in the artists’ mural work. I am excited to see where this wall will take us. I look forward to continuing to work cooperatively to rejuvenate and care for this piece of road infrastructure.”
Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre (TNC) is a community-based organisation reflecting the social, community and welfare needs, interests and views of residents providing community services to disadvantaged and marginalised people in the Northern Suburbs of Wollongong.
TNC endeavors to research the social and community support needs of residents and facilitate the development of services to meet those needs.
TNC has been running a large number of community activities for over 20 years and has been running youth specific programs for over 6 years. Since moving to the new Thirroul Community Centre its ability to deliver a wider variety of more flexible programs has increased. The recent appointment of centre coordinator and two part time assistant youth workers has further increased its capacity to deliver services to the local community. TNC runs a number of its services in partnership including Youth Worker in Schools and Emergency Relief. Current activities/groups of the centre include:
- Emergency Relief Service Assistance with food vouchers and payment of utilities and referral to other services
- Northern Illawarra Youth Project—Drop In Social time for 12-18 year olds, with information and referral available for youth health and welfare services
- Playgroup: For parents with children 0-4 years
- Cards and Games: Social time for all ages
- Quilting and Patchwork group: All ages welcome.
- Craft and Social group: All ages welcome.
- Indoor Bowls: All ages welcome.