Joy Burch (MLA) to launch Odgers Lane Art

Odgers Lane is a humble laneway in the heart of the Melbourne Building, one of Canberra’s earliest and iconic buildings. Odgers Lane Art is a community engagement project by Belconnen Community Service (BCS), supported by ACT Health. It revitalises Odgers Lane as a place for the community to connect. ActewAGL kindly allowed their historic sub-station to be the canvas for the project. Odgers Lane Art occurred concurrently with other improvements in this space, including new traffic arrangements and paving. Canberrans and visitors are now able to connect with each other and with the space while enjoying alfresco dining.

During 2011 and 2012 BCS community engagement coordinator, Simone Penkethman undertook consultation on how to depict people’s connection with the space. People produced drawings, decorated scale models and wrote descriptions of how they imagined it could be. Electronic images were circulated through the Odgers Lane Art Facebook page and other online forums. People also joined in craftternoons at Smith’s Alternative Bookshop and activities at the You Are Here Festival. To ensure that the engagement was fully inclusive, Simone also consulted with specific groups through BCS programs; including young people experiencing disadvantage, people living with disabilities and adults recovering from mental illness.

All the community contributions were then analysed by a panel of artists and designers, including lecturers from the University of Canberra’s faculty of Arts and Design. The common themes were incorporated into draft designs that were developed further through consultation with ACT Health, Economic Development Directorate, local businesses, Heritage ACT and ActewAGL.

These intriguing and engaging murals depict humans, plants and animals in surreal urban landscapes that playfully reflect the heritage-listed trees and facades of Odgers Lane. The works say: “this place is fascinating, inspiring and alive”. They invite the viewer to be completely present in the space.

The works were designed and painted by Susanne Ilschner, a graduate of the ANU School of Art. This is her most monumental work to date.

As the painting took place, Suzanne and Simone received lots of positive feedback from people passing through the lane, from local business owners, and from the general public by email and via the Odgers Lane Art Facebook page. Many have commented on the effectiveness of the art in the space.

Terrific work – it is stimulating and adds so much to that part of Canberra. Laneways were once places to avoid, now they are being opened up as places of cultural appreciation and aesthetic.
Via Facebook

wow ..awesome, and in downtown canberra too xxxx

BCS appreciates the input of all stakeholders and makes special thanks to: Simone Penkethman for facilitation and coordination, Odgers Lane artist, Susanne Ilschner, Karl Heath and Edith Van Loo, for volunteering time and skills, Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, The University of Canberra Faculty of Arts and Design, The Riotact, the You Are Here festival team, everyone who contributed ideas and feedback, and Odgers Lane Art’s many Facebook friends.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Odgers-Lane-Art/328252573854096?fref=ts

Everyone’s invited to the Launch of Odgers Lane Art
Smiths’ Alternative Bookshop
By Minister for the Arts, Joy Burch
(For Katy Gallagher MLA, Minister for Health)
76 Alinga St, Canberra City
Tuesday August 27, 2:15pm
Followed by Afternoon tea
RSVP: Simone Penkethman
62640200
bcs@bcsact.com.au