- Project name: GreenWORKS! Green Pathways project
- Organisation: City of Maribyrnong
- Grant fund: Graffiti Prevention Grants
- Grant amount: : $25,000
- Total project cost: $57,416
- Project Partners: RecWest Braybrook, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, Victoria Police Footscray, street mural artists (Mayfield Palace, Bryan Itch and Stiff Ives), YMCA Disability Group, Big Fish, Green Army volunteers, and local traders and residents.
A Maribyrnong public mural and graffiti education project has showcased vocational pathways in landscaping and urban design to VCAL students from Caroline Chisholm Catholic College as they created an ‘artscape’ to deter unsightly graffiti.
A prominent wall at Braybrook’s RecWest centre was frequently being tagged, producing negative perceptions of safety in the area. In response, the GreenWORKS! project used the student’s ideas to cover the wall with Maribyrnong’s largest public mural, featuring 3D designs and landscaping.
Professional mural artists supported the students to develop creative skills and design the mural. The students also visited Victoria Police Footscray and undertook school-based education to discuss the negative consequences of graffiti vandalism and how it differs from legal art.
Over six months, the students worked with the artists, park rangers and landscape designers to research the mural themes and develop the artscape. Other students and young Green Army volunteers joined the tree planting, creating new connections as they learned design, problem‑solving and cooperation skills.
Since the mural’s completion, tagging on the wall has stopped and graffiti has not been seen in a nearby shopping strip that was repainted recently.
The community has embraced the mural design, which is also attracting new visitors. Residents were kept informed during the project and have been impressed by the young people’s work to make the area feel more safe and inviting.
The relationship between the council and the school is continuing and community relationships have formed, with neighbours monitoring the site to report any illegal activity and YMCA Disability Group volunteers maintaining the plantings.
The students took ownership of the mural through the design process and spoke proudly at the community launch to share their achievements. Post-project surveys found improved relationships between the project participants, residents and the young people, and an increased sense of community belonging and confidence in the students.
The young people were especially motivated and engaged by designing and physically producing the mural, visiting Victoria Police, building rapport with their mentors and the community and having the site nearby so they could see the results. The project also learned the importance of allowing budget for anti-graffiti coating and contingencies, and enough time for recruiting the young participants and working around bad weather and exam and holiday periods.
City of Maribyrnong found that establishing a project reference group to support cooperation between the project partners and its relevant departments led to better collaboration opportunities and links with green space development and master planning in the municipality.