In the five days before Australia day 2016, Zest Artist Rudy Kistler worked with a group of young people to create a 25 metre long x 5 metre high mural at the Goulburn Skatepark and Aquatic Centre.Β The project was an initiative of the local Be Seen Be Heard Youth Development Team, which is funded by the NSW state government and supported by the Goulburn Mulwaree Shire Council.
Their goal was to create a dramatic backdrop for the ‘Big Air’ skate competition being held on Australia day, by painting a giant wave on to the outside back wall of the Goulburn Aquatic Centre indoor pool building.
They certainly achieved their aim judging by the near full page photo in the local rag the Goulburn Post, showing federal member Prue Goward, Be Seen Be Heard coordinator Alysha House and several of the local participating youth posing in front of the impressive mural.
The Be Seen Be Heard crew are on a mission to change the way young people think and behave, through targeted events and conversation. Its an extremely positive and proactive youth initiative in a rural area like most others that suffers high rates of youth unemployment, crime and disaffection. Its mission is to work with young people to inspire, energise and encourage their participation in the decision making processes that affect their lives. The crew, made up of some 30 young people from all walks of life, have been meeting together since the beginning of 2014 to brainstorm, plan and direct local initiatives for youth.
The Be Seen Be Heard crewβs decision to use art to involve and motivate young people is grounded in good science, albeit an ever evolving area of research. While the evidence is not absolute, the case is strong. In βArts and achievement in at risk youthβ, the authors find itβs quite clear that βStudents who have arts-rich experiences in school do better across-the-board academically, and they also become more active and engaged citizens, voting, volunteering, and generally participating at higher rates than their peers.β
Zest Events International has a strong commitment to youth development and more broadly to those disadvantaged by disability or discrimination and will be looking to deliver positive outcomes for these groups throughout 2016 and beyond. Zest is uniquely positioned to provide inspiration, hope and positive behavioural outcomes through the application of interactive art experiences.
According to Alysha House “Everything went so well, Rudy is just amazing as an artist, but even better with young people. We are so very happy with the outcome of the project β I could work with him every day. Super easy and never a drama.”