Building on the cultural scene of Port Macquarie Hastings


Earlier this year, we invited local artists to participate in a free mural workshop to develop their skills under the guidance of renowned artist, designer and mural enthusiast, Mike Shankster.

The mural masterclass was attended by 10 local artists who expressed interest in creating new local public art works in the future.

The weeklong program covered the process from start to finish. The artists began by responding to a briefing, scaling up the design, site considerations, understanding of materials to be used, site preparation, and safety considerations. They then had the opportunity to put their newfound skills to use, collaborating on a mural site in the Town Beach amenities building.

Liesa Davies, head of the group’s economic and cultural development, said programs like this are needed to support the creative industries in our region, noting in particular the recent impacts of COVID.

“Public art plays an important role in creating a sense of belonging, it tells local stories and reflects the identity of its community.

“Through this workshop program, our goal is to hone and create a strong, diverse network of local visual artists who can contribute to future public and private art commissions in our region,” said Liesa.

The masterclass was offered as part of the Council’s Creative Industries Professional Development Program, a COVID recovery initiative. The areas of intervention of the professional development program were informed by the consultation of local creators during the completion of the cultural economy project in 2020.

The project identified the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the growth of the local creative sector. To address the identified gaps, a series of workshops were offered to build capacity and capacity.

In addition to the mural masterclass, a series of professional development workshops took place earlier in the year. These seminars covered business, marketing and promotion, as well as skills development to help take the practice of local creatives to the next level.

To expand the networking and promotional activities, an Open Studio Weekend was held with over 20 local studios, workshops and galleries, opening their doors to the public to profile and promote their creative practice.

A Cultural Street Sail project was also carried out in partnership with the Cultural Arts students of Wauchope TAFE. Hosted by two professional artists, TAFE students and local Indigenous children from Wauchope Primary Schools were mentored in the design principles. Their works of art were converted into street sails which were installed in Port Macquarie and Wauchope. The sails will also be used during important cultural events or celebrations that take place throughout the year.

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