Not so fast on public mural

PLEASE LET’S slow down choosing a picture for Toodyay’s first public mural in Charcoal Lane (last month’s Herald) and not make a hasty decision.
I acknowledge the work of the Toodyay Tidy Towns Committee and many others who have strived for years to achieve so much for Toodyay .
They have promoted the concept for a community art space in the form of a mural and successfully started fund raising.
The mural project is a very exciting concept in line with a Shire of Toodyay corporate business plan that includes “activities to support the preservation and development of Toodyay’s heritage culture, in order to enrich community identity, and to improve the visitor’s experience of Toodyay and its people”.
Public art – particularly in country towns – is growing throughout Australia and Toodyay has an amazing history that can be translated in a public mural art project.
paintings like those on the Toodyay-Northam Road are also being supported by government and private partnerships in NSW, Victoria, SA and Tasmania.
Public art is regarded as hugely nourishing for residents and a boon for tourism.

It is insightful, brave and forward-thinking that the Shire of Toodyay, Tidy Towns Committee and many others have embraced the idea of our first public mural.

However, I believe the concept design revealed in last month’s Herald is not ideal for the town’s heritage precinct, in which it will sit.
It’s a great wall space crying out for a mural but I suggest we first build a solid foundation for community art by asking the shire to draft a local arts policy before deciding on any murals.
Such a policy needs to establish short and long-term goals for all public art.
It can include murals, sculptures, interactive street arts, landscaping and other art forms to reflect our heritage, history, culture and achievements.
Our forebears have handed on a heritage to hold with care.
We can tell a great story through public art that defines our town.
It may delay completion of Toodyay’s first public mural but will establish clear guidelines for future decisions.
I urge everyone to become involved by writing to the shire before the August 11 deadline and ask that we slow this project down and go back to the drawing board.
Other inspirational public murals in WA and throughout Australia can be seen at
Margaret Sommerville

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