30 August 2023

Colour, creativity and collaboration: Shell Cove community celebrates inclusivity with marina murals

| Keeli Royle
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Students painting on a mural

Warilla High School students help launch the PromenART project at Shell Cove. Photos: Keeli Royle.

The Shell Cove community is celebrating inclusivity using creativity and colour, with youth and disability services partnering with local artists to create new murals around the marina.

The installation is part of a major art initiative planned for the area, named PromenART, with Warilla High School students using Wear It Purple Day as inspiration for their work, which will be showcased at the popular area.

“It’s a great initiative and what students are doing here today is building these beautiful artwork pieces, which is not only going to send positive messages to the community but it’s bringing the space alive,” Deputy Mayor Kellie Marsh said.

“It’s something that the students can be proud of and it’s something that we as a community can be proud of.”

They were joined by local police officers, who donned special purple shirts in honour of the day, which promotes safe and supportive environments for rainbow youth.

READ ALSO Whale sculpture tells story of Dharawal people’s cultural connection to Windang Island

Lake Illawarra Police District’s team leader for crime prevention Sergeant Ben Walsh said it was important that authorities helped spread the message.

“We are leaders in the community and if we’re the ones stepping forward and showing the inclusivity and diversity within the NSW Police Force, that shows that we are leading from the front.”

Sgt Walsh said the mural would help spread that message all year round to locals and tourists alike.

“The marina out here is a very showcased area. We don’t just have locals, we have people from all across Australia and the world coming and visiting this space, so to show we as a local community and Lake Illawarra police are part of that community, we’re proud to see something that’s not only going to stand for today but stand for the future as well.”

Participants from Aruma Disability Services, like Cody Inkersol, also made their mark on the marina.

He said that painting and working on the project made him happy and that he loved using the colours, especially pink.

And they had the opportunity to work alongside local artists such as The Marker Gillian Dinh, who was no stranger to creative large-scale projects like this.

“I’ve always loved being a part of community engagement-type experiences and projects,” she said. “I like to give back to the community as well. Growing up in Wollongong, I love to liven up spaces and make things a little bit more enjoyable for people.”

Gillian wanted this piece of work to catch your eye but also make you think.

“I like to combine street art with sentiment, so that’s kind of my forte with art,” she said. “So thinking about the concept, it was obviously inspired by the sea and having a pun with that ‘is it me you sea’, I wanted to have something a little bit thought-provoking while people are on their walk.”

The project by Shellharbour Council and Frasers Property is just the start of a series of creative installations and events planned for the area.

Frasers Property community development manager Tina Britton said it was part of the company’s placemaking strategy to help bring life to a less-utilised area of the marina.

“We decided because we have some construction here that we would create these mural boards around the marina and we’ve invited some community groups in today to help us decorate them and to make a nice facade for the community to enjoy as well as a spectacle of seeing people participating,” she said.

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Councillor Marsh said involving the community was in theme with the original plan for the picturesque area.

“When we developed the Shell Cove Marina in conjunction with Frasers, it was all about it’s everyone’s space,” she said.

”We wanted to make sure that this space was for everybody and certainly that’s what we’re doing today.”

As part of PromenART, a sculpture walk will be on display at the marina from 13 September to 30 October, with more than 40 artworks bound for Shell Cove and plenty of things to do.

“Over the weekends over the six-week period, we’ll have some live music and some market stalls as well as community workshops, so there’s lots of things for people to get involved in,” Tina said.

To find out more, visit the PromenART Facebook event.

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