Youth urban art project brightens Cairns

Published: 21st July 2022

Artist Daniel (Wally) Wallwork and Division 3 Councillor Cathy Zeiger at the Gordon Creek underpass

Artist Daniel (Wally) Wallwork and Division 3 Councillor Cathy Zeiger at the Gordon Creek underpass

Teenagers making their way from the youth justice system into employment have been beautifying parks, footpaths and underpasses in Cairns as part of Council’s Youth Urban Art Program.

A young team from the Transitions 2 Success Youth Justice program have been learning new skills, prepping and cleaning mural sites, and creating designs for four new public artworks throughout the region. 

Sites for murals are allocated against a set of criteria, primarily focusing on areas impacted by graffiti and tagging. 

Division 3 Councillor Cathy Zeiger said the new murals, led by artists Daniel (Wally) Wallwork and Violet Shaban, had been hand-painted or sprayed on some unique sites in the latest round of the Youth Urban Art project.

“The team had some really interesting ‘canvasses’ to work with this year – an outdoor ping pong table in Coast Watcher Park in Trinity Beach, a skate park at Edmonton, an electricity box at Mooroobool and, in my council division of Woree, an underpass and footpath,” Cr Zeiger said.

“The results are colourful, beautiful, and tell stories about the people and places in the area – they will be a source of great pride for the local neighbourhoods.

“Projects like these provide young people in Cairns with opportunities for increased connection, participation, mentorship and creative expression. 

“These particular young people have given a gift to the community through their hard work and creative ideas.”

Mr Wallwork led the project at the Todd Park / Edmonton skate park and Gordon Creek sites.

“Before we started on the design, we talked about what’s around us, what happens in the area of Gordon Creek and the activities people do, and from there, the design has grown pretty organically,” Mr Wallwork said.

“I grew up here myself and have lived in the area all my life, so I know it pretty well. 

“With the design, we’ve worked up tracks and footprints of people, birds, tyres and painted these on the footpath, underpass and pillars.

“The kids have been working with tools and cleaning products, talking, and learning about blending colours as part of the project.”

The Youth Urban Arts Project has been running for several years. The 2022 project brings to 18 the total number of murals painted throughout the region, from Babinda to the Northern Beaches, as part of the Youth Urban Art Program.