A part of Maitland City Council’s Youth Space Activation Project, we were invited by Council’s Place Activation Team to add a splash of colour to Rutherford’s Norm Chapman Oval Rebound Wall. The mural design reflects connection to place, our plan was to facilitate our Mural Engagement Program as a way to enact that connection – by collaboratively painting the mural!

It was so awesome to see about 50 members of the community chipping in to help paint the mural, and gratefully, the Rutherford/Telarah Rotary team helped out with their barbeque – a good lunch time snag between spray painting!

About the Design

The mural design was a collaboration between an Indigenous artist, Michael Heitmeyer and UP&UP’s co-founder Shane Kennedy, with ideas drawn from school students in the Maitland area and inspiration drawn from the natural environment. 

The mural was designed with the children and young people being at the forefront. The design reflects this with the emphasis on the trees and growth. There are four different eucalyptus in the image, iron bark, stringy bark, blue gum and spotted gum. Two rough bark, two smooth bark to represent the diversity. Colours are drawn from the different schools in the area, with the beams of colour reflecting off the word ‘Rutherford’.

About our Mural Engagement Program

Our Mural Engagement Program offers participants an exploration of considering two key aspects of responsibility – response and ability – in the context of their own communities. Guided by street artists with years of experience, participants were invited to pick up a spray can, learn some of the basics to painting and once they’re feeling confident, to spray a section of the mural. On top of that, participants discover the difference between graffiti art and graffiti vandalism – for us, it’s all about permission. By participating in the painting of the mural, our hope is that participants are inspired to feel a sense of responsibility, ownership and belonging within their community.  

Participants also had the opportunity to express themselves through other mediums – we often bring along our posca pens for participants to use on donated CD’s from local music stores to encourage self-expression and creativity. Being less physically demanding than spray painting, it’s a good chance to slow down and engage with the community and to learn about things that matter to them. Plus, they walk away with some wicked additional décor for their room!

You can check out some of our previous Mural Programs we’ve completed around Newcastle over the years!

If you’re in Rutherford at any point, you can spot the mural just off the New England Highway at Norm Chapman Oval – just between Spotlight and the West Mall. Be sure to take a picture of yourself with the mural and tag us @upnupinspirations!

You can read more in the Newcastle Weekly about what we got up to here.

Are you a service provider, school or Council looking to engage your community in a creative and meaningful way? Get in touch with us by emailing info@upnup.com.au for more information on our Mural Engagement Program!

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