In a survey of Kingston residents conducted in 2017, public art attracted the most vocal response. Over seven pages of comments about public art were gathered and published. People wanted to engage, they wanted to interact, they didn’t want monuments or memorials – they wanted fun, delightful, outdoor activities that switched their kids onto art, warmed people’s hearts, was meaningful in a personal way, moved us and made us think. They want to live in a vibrant place that is full of new experiences.
We approached curators David Cross and Cameron Bishop who masterminded two incredible contemporary art tours at the Western Treatment Plant near Werribee. These tours ranged through fascinating landscapes and bird life, abandoned villages and incredible imagery, sounds and sites. Truly an iconic experience.
David and Cameron came on board and immediately researched the contemporary history of Kingston. They uncovered a bunch of extraordinary stories, most of which, coincidentally, clustered around the period 1976-1982. We sought funding from Creative Victoria’s ‘Creative Suburbs’ grant program, through which we hoped to bring artists and community members together to respond to these historic moments – not to replicate them – but respond from the vantage point of the present day. Our application was successful and we were off and away.
Over 200 community members have participated in the creation of six artworks. Six artists, absorbed in the sites and stories of their artworks, have fashioned concepts and ideas with community members that speak directly to the sentiments expressed in our surveys.
We have to thank all the partners who have leapt on board, because they loved the idea of something new happening! Ventura buses, St Kilda Football Club, the Aviation Museum, Southern FM, the Ukelele band from Longbeach, textilers – and many many more, daring to do something new, jumping in head first or dipping their toe in the water. This is the first of many more participatory projects in Kingston and we are so proud to offer something that does engage and delight us and make us think. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!