By Jed Lanyon
A group of budding Healesville artists have helped create two large-scale temporary sticker artworks installed on the side of the Memo Hall and behind fruit and vegetable shop Toscano’s Varra Valley.
The young artists aged 13-18 years co-designed the artworks named ‘Surrealesville’ and ‘Kids these days’ with professional artist Gulsen Ozer and contributing artist Andrea Innocent.
The ‘It Takes a Town’ project is a youth and community development project initiated by the Healesville and District Service Provider Network (HDSPN) funded by council.
The project aims to mobilise broad community support to make Healesville a place where young people are supported, enabled and empowered.
The artworks represent a current snapshot of young people’s voices and will remain on display for three months.
Cr Fiona McAllister said the artworks were informed by the experiences and aspirations of more than 100 local young people from Healesville High School, Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association, The Salvation Army’s youth group and The Good Life Farm.
“Gulsen led the young artists through a creative process where they physically and emotionally mapped Healesville and developed characters and symbols of people, places and experiences,” Cr McAllister said.
“The artwork gives young people a voice in a way that is positive and creative, offering a sense of joy and possibility.
“The themes explored include the importance of having openness towards everyone in the community and the importance of friendship,” she said.
As the lead artist, Ms Ozer led young people in workshops where they created written descriptions, drawings, photographs and clay sculpture that represented their experiences of living in the town and their future aspirations.