While the work was completed some time ago, the weekend event was a chance for scouts and leaders to celebrate the mural which celebrates them.
Called “Scouting in the 21st Century,” the project was funded by a Victorian Department of Justice’s Graffiti Prevention Program grant and depicts colourful scenes of scouts enjoying the outdoors, juxtaposed with pixelated, greyscale kids spending time indoors on their phones.
“The building needed a face lift, and it needed to better reflect the organisation as it stands now in the 21st century,” Warragul Scouts group leader Kristy Waddell told the Baw Baw Citizen.
“The Warragul group started in 1975, but scouting has been in the area since 1947. I guess the hall sort of reflected how long the group’s been around, and it needed a change.
“It sat there on a beautiful piece of land, but there wasn’t really much to see. Now we’ve created a bridge to the community.”
Scouts determined the direction and design of the project from start to finish, under the guidance of local artist and art teacher Jo Draisma.
“I did workshops with all of the scouts to gather their ideas, and also talk about the difference between graffiti and street art,” Jo told the Baw Baw Citizen.
“I was so impressed with what the kids came up with! They understood exactly what scouting was about – adventure, friendship, sun, outdoors, nature, inclusivity, and that scouting is global.
“The older kids really brought the design together, because they came up with this concept of a group of people all on their phones looking depressed in grey, and scouts all bright and colourful with colourful thoughts coming out of their heads.”
After working with the scouts to figure out what the mural should include, Jo sketched out the design and set about painting. Working on weekends with help from scouts, venturers and their family members, and local artists, the mural was completed in 10 weeks.
“I think street art is the next big art movement, because it’s about making spaces nicer, and it’s pop culture, it’s interactive for people on the street, and it’s not about keeping art in galleries for the elite few to enjoy,” Jo said.
“It’s really nice to have funding, because a lot of street artists don’t get paid.”
While the work was only completed recently, it has already caught the attention of community members.
“People in scouting really love it, because they feel it embodies what scouting is about,” Jo said.
“When I was painting I had a couple of nice moments. A lady pulled over in her car, got out, and told me how much she loved it, which is really nice. And I had a couple of indigenous kids walking past, and a little girl looked up and saw herself in that and her face changed. I was really taken by that because most media and art is just white Anglo-Saxon, whereas this is about including everyone.”
“Everyone is welcome in scouts.”
Warragul Scouts is presently at capacity due to a shortage of volunteers, and Kirsty Waddell hopes the new artwork will also encourage more parents to help run events.