Culture corridor effort
THE students of Bangalow Public School this week held a special ceremony of sorts, one that had been in the making for 20 weeks.
The school had been part of the state Artists in Schools program, a rare opportunity, whereby only about 10 schools each year receive a grant to house two artists in residence for two terms.
The school was accepted into the program earlier this year, resulting in two local Aboriginal artists, Penny Evans and Luke Close, leading two 10-week workshops with the junior and senior classes of the school over the last two school terms.
This week, to celebrate the completion of the residency, the students and all those involved joined in for a opening ceremony, involving a flag raising, smoking ceremony, singing and storytelling with local Bundjalung elder, Burri Jerome, and an opportunity for the children to walk through their "culture corridor" - the hall showing all the students' work from the 20 weeks of learning.
The ceremony ended with the students and guests gathering in the two "gunyas", traditional Aboriginal shelters that were created as part of the residency.
Supervising teacher Andrea McLean said the residency had been a fantastic experience for the students and the artists, and had achieved what they'd set out to do: create awareness of cultural diversity and open up multiculturalism at the school, using culture interwoven into artwork.
"It was absolutely fantastic on all fronts," she said, "the kids were over the moon."
Mrs McLean said there were now talks with Arts North Coast for the school to possibly get a secondary grant to continue the "fantastic" learning they had begun with this program.