Finalist 2020

Russell Street Coburg – Community Art Project

Moreland City Council / Steph Hughes / Coburg Primary School

A great example of what engaged placemaking can achieve even during challenging times.

A collaborative art project between Council, Coburg Primary students and a local artist despite COVID-19 school closures stopping the original planned workshops. Council officers, local artist Stephanie Hughes and teachers were forced to think outside the box to bring the students together to complete the project.

With some creative thinking, students were coached via online workshops, their drawings completed at home, then scanned and submitted to arrange the artwork. Installed on the new Exeloo and adjacent power substation box in Russell Street, behind Coburg Primary School. A great example of what engaged placemaking can achieve even during challenging times.

Design Excellence

For an artist who is hands on and had planned to guide kids in a classroom, to then be able to design a project that kids could do from home whilst remote learning deserves great applause and recognition. The way Steph\’s brain worked in coming up with the idea blew my mind!
I would place this project in the ‘Exhibition’ design arena, pieces of art that convey information through visual story telling.

Design Impact

From what would have been a newly installed grey Exeloo and nearby graffitied power substation box surrounded by upgraded streetscape works to shared community art adding colour, a talking point, connection for local community members and immense student pride + a sustainability theme has proven itself full of impact.

Quote from a community member:  "More!! We love seeing the kids artwork. We stop and look at it on Russel street and laugh at the cuteness of it all. More art!”

Design Transformation

To effectively deliver this project within COVID-19 health restrictions, the project team thought outside the box. Original artist proposal and project planning evolved around local Coburg Primary School students hand painting their artwork onto the surfaces.  This was no longer possible within social distancing guidelines hence Council proposed a ‘decal’ option and asked the artist if this might be within her skill set.  The project then morphed into art submitted online and manipulated by the artist to then produce an electronic file for a local printer to install.  The ability to deliver a valued experience for all participants and a glowing product for all community to enjoy was now possible via technology.

Design Innovation

Design Innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas and products— it’s also about changes that lead to growth and differentiation.  COVID-19 pushed the project team to deliver this project in an originally unthought of way.  The art/decal/install process used has extended thinking of internal community design/art colleagues, with this project being used as an example of delivering public art on Council assets that involves our community communicating their art.  A new innovative way that also assists in graffiti removal as the printed decal has an ‘anti-graffiti’ coating included.

Other Key Features

Collaboration between Council, local primary school teachers, students and artist.

  • Sustainability theme as selected by the school.
  • Student artwork received in black pen that the artist then digitised and added colour to for a printer to complete the decal install which is bright, colourful and anti graffiti coated.
  • A place activation that has become a local talking/’sticky spot’ where community members are talking to each other, smiling and appreciating the students artwork and sentiments.

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