O-Shores school mural makes "inviting corner" for students

MAGICAL MURAL: A bleak wall has been transformed into a multi-coloured seascape at Ocean Shores Public School. From left are students Marcel, Jake, Bella, Charlie, Xavier and Brooke with the artist Sam Wortelhock.
MAGICAL MURAL: A bleak wall has been transformed into a multi-coloured seascape at Ocean Shores Public School. From left are students Marcel, Jake, Bella, Charlie, Xavier and Brooke with the artist Sam Wortelhock.

A HUMPBACK whale and its calf, banks of coral, dolphins and a message in a bottle are among recent colourful additions to a wall at Ocean Shores Public School.

The images were chosen by children in the school's support unit, whose classrooms face the wall.

One student, Xavier, asked for an octopus and another, Laurence, wanted a shark.

Their wishes became an exciting reality in recent weeks as Byron artist Sam Wortelhock turned the 20m strip of cheerless brick into a multi-coloured seascape.

The mural, courtesy of Sam's Clean Slate arts program for schools and communities, is the icing on the cake of several upgrades at the unit.

First up was the laying of a special artificial grass that offered greater access to the outdoors.

Sam was helped by some of the children, notably Cove, who specialised in adding colourful "blobs" to the mosaic of coral. Cove had only ever painted with water before so this marked a real breakthrough.

The unit's students, and those from the wider school, can touch and interact with the mural. Glass beads, sea shells, play money and glittering sand make up part of the picture, providing a crucial tactile element.

"Being able to feel parts of the work meets some of the children's needs for sensory stimulation," Sam said.

And the toxin-free paint from ecolour means they are safe to do so.

"It's been joyous to see the children engage with the pictures," said learning and support teacher Debbie Timms. "There is so much to see, look at and enjoy.

"It's become a talking point among all the students and an inviting corner for them to come into and play."

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