Shire could benefit from more murals

They look great, they support culture and they bring tourists.

Wollondilly councillor Michael Banasik believes murals are a great way to liven up a town and he is thrilled to see more and more being painted in the shire.

The councillor posted several images of new murals – from local artist Joe Quilter – on Facebook this week.

They were painted in Tahmoor and financed by local shopkeepers.

Cr Banasik said there was a lot of potential for similar artworks across Wollondilly.

“I think we could be the ‘mural shire’,” he said.

“I love seeing them, they have that artsy quality and they’re good for the culture of the area.

“We’ve had some great ones at the RSL park and in Picton.”

Cr Banasik said Wollondilly Council was determined to boost tourism in the shire and murals could play a part in making that happen.

He said murals were growing in popularity in Australia.

“I was recently in Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley and they have a lot of murals, it was amazing to see,” he said.

“I think we could be just as good as Kurri Kurri.

“Places like Broken Hill and some laneways in Melbourne also have great murals.”

Cr Banasik hopes even more business-owners will get behind mural art.

He said they would have to be mindful of heritage building restrictions but expected more artwork would also have economic benefits.

“We do IlluminARTe each year which is all about the same thing,” he said.

“People will come and have a look and stay in the town.

“They are a definite tourist attraction.”

Mr Quilter, who is an artist by trade and specialises in murals, said bringing “art culture” to Wollondilly was a great move.

He said the shire was sandwiched between the strong art communities of the Southern Highlands and Campbelltown and it had the potential to be just as successful.

“I’ve done several murals in the area now, in Tahmoor and in Picton, and I’ve got more scheduled for Douglas Park and the botanic gardens,” the Tahmoor resident said.

“I think the best way for a type of mural art trail to work, would be for the murals to connect with some part of the shire, whether that’s culture, heritage, or the flora and fauna.

“For example, the Douglas Park wall is going to be about the flora and fauna, and so is the botanic garden.

“A couple of the others I’ve done have been of that vintage style and there’s a really strong vintage culture in Wollondilly, from vintage cars to the rockabilly scene.”

Wilton resident Debbie Roberts recently suggested an art trail could bring people off the highway and travelling through each of the shire’s towns and villages.

Wollondilly mayor Judith Hannan said murals made the shire more “attractive”.

“We have some really great murals in the shire,” she said.

“A lot of the grants from our community grants program recently were given to construct murals.

“They can definitely bring people in.”

Mr Quilter said any mural artworks would have to be specifically advertised and marketed as art cultural hotspots if they were to reach their potential. 


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