Being on the Arts Advisory Committee of our local shire means that I get to learn about, and be involved in all sorts of fantastic community arts projects. Last year I worked with a group of local authors to produce an anthology of stories written by them about how they had moved on from a difficult experience in their life.
Yesterday, I was at the opening of another amazing community arts project. Over the last few months, talented local artist, Woody Taylor has worked with the townspeople of Darraweit Guim, about 60 kilometres from Melbourne to produce an amazing transformation to a strip of land at the local hall that had lain in waste for years. The idea for the Metal Art Garden came from the local War Memorial Hall committee, who felt that maintaining a large garden in the current climate was not viable and decided to opt for sculptures instead of live vegetation.
Over nine workshops and countless hours, the artists transformed the wasteland into a metal sculpture garden with everything from metal Banksias and emus to crocodiles, a triffid, bugs, weeping trees and even Ned Kelly.
On Sunday, a large crowd gathered in the sunshine to admire the artist’s handiwork and see the garden opened by Minister for the Arts, The Hon Peter Batchelor.
There is so much to marvel at in the Darraweit Guim Sculpture Garden project. The fact that the project uncovered some new artistic talent, that the community came together in a spirit of cooperation and determination to complete the project, and that so much was achieved with so little funding.
Most of the materials came from scrap metal donated by local homeowners and recovered from the sheds of farmers. Around 60 rusty spanners were used and countless cogs, shovels and various other extraneous farming implements. The Darraweit Guim Sculpture Garden is a an example of recycling at its best.
Amazing what artistic talent, hard work and community spirit can achieve.