We used to see art only as a way of entertainment, but it's so much more. Art can play with your emotions, it can inspire you & can even improve your state of mind. Art has the power to make you change the way you see things.
It was with this in mind that the Council of Sutherland Shire decided to use art to revitalize the district of Caringbah. Those who have known Gecko for a while know that our head office is located in Sutherland Shire, more specifically in Taren Point. A few months ago, our team noticed the visual change in Caringbah. The walls once grey have now made room for large and colourful art murals.
We decided to do some research and we discovered that the graffiti murals were part of the project "Wall the Walls of Caringbah", designed by the Council of Sutherland Shire in partnership with Hazelhurst Gallery, NSW Police, Sydney Trains, local businesses, property owners and the Department of Justice.
They invited PHIBS (Tim De Haas), the highly recognised and respected Australian street artist to be the curator of the project and to collaborate with the Councils Youth & Community Development officer to engage young local artists who were interested in learning and developing their artistic skills.
We chatted with the creators of the project at the Council of Sutherland Shire, James Jackson, Community Development Advisor, and Sherie Skaines, Crime Prevention & Security, who said the project contributed to a drastic decrease in crime in the Caringbah region.
The project aimed to revitalise the region, prevent crime, reduce anti-social behaviour in the area and engage local artists.
After speaking with the participants, the feedback was that the community reacted very well to the project. "The community feeling following the ‘Walk the Walls’ project in Caringbah helps to establish great working relationships with businesses outside the Walls Caringbah area. Businesses in other areas have seen the benefits to Caringbah CBD and have commissioned artists to complete work on their walls" said Skaines.
Our team did the walk and to our surprise the project went way beyond the main road. At the end of the walk - which lasted no more than 10 minutes – we were not able to count the number of art murals. Most murals captured a "coloured" theme, all equally talented but some with a message a little more critical and evocative than others.
We also asked Jackson and Sherie if the council has any intention of continuing the project next year and Jackson’s comments were "Councils Crime Prevention Officer is currently applying for a grant to develop a similar project to reduce crime and activate spaces in other ‘Walk the Walls’ project. There has also been a continuation of smaller projects around the Shire that have grown out of the success of the Walk the Walls project".
For us, it will be a pleasure to have other parts of our community enhanced with art and we are hoping to maybe contribute to the project as it evolves in the future.
List of the “Walk the Walls” artists
Zac Bennet Brook, Oz King, Maid, Hayley Mischief Lord, Camo, Mulga, Mayonaize, Peque, Onejessa, Ears, Pudl, Snarl, George Rose, Phibs, Mistery, Porno Graphics, Whom, Keys, Scott Marsh, Born Ready Art, Scott Nagy, Nico, Studio Dennis, Nicole Reed, Suchis, AWOL Creations, Karen Farmer, YOWA, Krimsone, Mike Watt, WEI 2, Fens, Sven