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Canberra Mural Workshop for Primary & High School Students

street art

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Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre – YWCA Canberra

Connecting young people through street art

Over two days in December 2020, our Youth Engagement team worked with visionary street artist Bjarni Wark from Happy Decay to run a Street Art Transition program for young people in the Tuggeranong region.

The transition from primary to secondary school involves significant changes that can be both exhilarating and concerning to students and their families.

The Street Art Transition program seeks to address these concerns by creating a seamless and fun experience for young people in primary and high school to connect, learn new skills, minimise barriers and build relationships with support staff within the Education Directorate and the wider community. Research suggests that successful transitioning is pivotal to the development of students’ self-esteem and academic competence. Transition programs can also help prevent anti-social behaviours.

On the first day of the program, students from Charles Conder Primary and Lanyon High School attended a workshop at the Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre where they had icebreakers, played games and did activities to help build trust and positive relationships. Bjarni then gave them lessons and shared tips on painting and caring for art equipment.

The second day started with a check-in circle followed by a workshop with Bjarni on the different skills that can be used when doing street art, such as washed-down paint, block colouring, mixed media and stencilling.

Bjarni provided three artistic options for the mural to be featured on the walls at MLYCC and then the program group, our A-Z group and young people from the Lanyon Youth Centre drop-in were asked to vote on their favourite.

There was also a meet and greet session arranged with the young people from each school, so those leaving primary school could learn from the high schoolers. The primary school students discussed what they were looking forward to the most and their main concerns about transitioning to high school.

This project wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and collaboration of many people and organisations and we would like to thank and acknowledge them for all of their efforts:

  • Lanyon High School and Charles Conder Primary staff members and students for fully engaging in this project, sharing their skills, talents and enthusiasm
  • mentor and artist Bjarni Wark from Happy Decay for expertly guiding the experience for the young people and supporting them to learn new skills and develop confidence
  • Transport Canberra and City Services which provided the funding for this project
  • the Youth Programs team and MLYCC centre staff for their input, invaluable advice, and support.

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