Students take on public art

By Niccola Anthony 

Secondary students from two schools in Melbourne’s western suburbs have created a unique public mural at RMIT’s LaTrobe St campus.

27 year-nine and year-ten students from Wyndham Central College in Werribee and Hume Central Secondary College in Broadmeadows came together for the four-day SmArts program, delivered through a partnership between RMIT and The Smith Family.

The program was designed to encourage students in their higher schooling and build aspirations for further study by providing an opportunity to experience learning in a university setting.

Students transformed a shipping container into an Andy Warhol-inspired mural under the guidance of industry experts and RMIT staff, which is now proudly displayed in the university’s Alumni courtyard.

Anton Leschen, The Smith Family’s general manager in Victoria, said the charity’s collaboration with RMIT had been highly effective in exposing young people to a range of career options before selecting their VCE subjects.

SmArts is based on research that shows taking part in creative activities builds self-confidence,” Mr Leschen said.

“Not only does the program help students further refine their promising skills, it encourages them to stay engaged in their education and exposes them to future opportunities which may be suited to their artistic interests.”

Student participants in SmArts also sung its praises. Chloe Preston of Wyndham Central College has been interested in drawing and the creative arts from a young age and was proud to have her work displayed in public.

“Not only have I now learned that nearly anything can be transformed into art, but the whole experience has opened my eyes to the things I could study in the future,” Ms Preston said.

Justin Yang of Hume Central Secondary College found the program “inspiring” and said that it has given him an insight into “how much freedom artists have when creating their work”.

“Before doing SmArts, I wasn’t too comfortable with the idea of having to travel into the city to study at university,” Mr Yang said.  “But now, I feel so much more at ease with the idea, and I’m really looking forward to one day going to university.”

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