A giant platypus marks the start of a school art project that is the product of a Newcastle artist thinking outside the box.
Launched at Warner’s Bay High School on Wednesday, Mural in a Box is a “COVID-19 friendly way of enabling schools to create art murals and learn from artists without needing to be onsite”.
The business is the brainchild of Novocastrian friends Jacinta Fintan and Natalie Sherring, joining forces with Sydney artist CRISP.
The trio have created a mural kit that can be delivered to schools and contains all the ingredients needed to install a mural on their chosen site.
The kit includes videos and resources that align with visual arts curriculum.
The first all-inclusive Mural In A Box design is by Australian street artist Crisp and features a ‘Platypus’ measuring two metres wide and two metres tall.
Co-founder Jacinta Fintan said the business was already gaining much attention.
“There is nothing like this in Australia and we’ve had an incredible amount of interest so far,” she said.
“Everything you need to install the mural with students at your school is in the box.
“Our mural templates mean that you don’t need special painting skills to get a professional result.
“Students will be able to watch Crisp’s artist talk and installation guide on video and then create something beautiful for their community.”
Visual Arts teacher and co-founder Natalie Sherring said Mural in a Box was a way to keep students engaged in art despite COVID-19 restrictions.
“When COVID arrived it really wiped out a lot of important and exciting visual arts activities that would usually be scheduled in high schools,” she said.
“All of a sudden gallery visits were off the cards and artists couldn’t visit the school to do talks or mural paintings.”
Sydney-based artist Crisp said the Mural In A Box templates meant “visual arts teachers who might not be confident painters can effectively install a good quality mural with their students”.
The first in the state to trial Mural in a Box earlier this week, Warner’s Bay High School students say they were pleased with the results.
Year 9 student Taydon Roberts said the experience was very rewarding.
“It was really fun and educational,” he said.
“It’s really cool to know that I helped with the school murals.
“I learnt how to use stencils and spray paint and it was very fun and social.
“It was nice working on it with my friends the past two days, and getting a chance to work outside.”
Year 7 student Ty Tickner said watching the school’s platypus mural come together was thoroughly enjoyable.
“It was really fun and amazing,” he said.
“It’s cool to see how I helped with this amazing mural and I learned a whole lot of techniques using paint.”
Ms Fintan said there was a bi-product of teaching youth street and mural art.
“When people connect with a place they are more inclined to take ownership of it,” she said.
“Putting the right mural on a wall can actually prevent graffiti by giving those around it a sense of beauty and connection.”