TONGALA is out to prove itself as one of the most creative towns in the region, and St Patrick’s Primary School is leading the charge with an artist-in-residence program kicking off this term.
St Pat’s was handpicked from 56 other schools for the Philomena Billington Scholarship, which is granted to promote social justice through the arts and will fund the residency.
‘‘We were a great candidate for the scholarship but were still pretty surprised and very happy when we got the phone call,’’ principal Katrina Johnson said.
‘‘Regional areas don’t always have the same opportunities as urban ones when it comes to the arts and this is an amazing opportunity for our students to play with mediums and ideas they’ve never had the chance to before.’’
Jolyon James from the Arena Theatre Company, which is running the one-day-a-week program, said students would benefit from immersing themselves in play and getting in touch with their imagination.
‘‘Good things happen when kids get to play,’’ he said.
‘‘There are no outcomes they have to meet or any expectation. It’s really just about asking them to dip into their creativity and imagination.
‘‘We’re asking them to get inspiration from their everyday environments. Places they might walk past a hundred times and never really see, particularly on their way to school.’’
In the first week, students from every year level made a spoken word poem that will form the basis of the project for the rest of the term.
They will then use a mix of video, shadow screens, photography, sound, music and artwork to build off the poem and create a final piece.
And students will show off their masterpiece at the end of the school term with a special screening. It’s shaping up to be something very special for the whole school community.
‘‘Just last week, we had a drone up in the sky,’’ Ms Johnson said.
‘‘Some of our students might never get another chance to work with that sort of technology. I’m really happy they get to give that a go.’’