Menindee Arts Enterprise
Broken Hill-based artist and teacher Rick Ball’s ground-breaking art program has operated in Menindee Central School for nearly 12 years. In 2020, the Project Zone, in conjunction with Menindee Enterprise Centre and Menindee Central School, successfully applied for funding from the Murray Darling Economic Development Fund to help facilitate the programs expansion and development in new directions. The Tracks program had gradually gained
the acceptance and trust of Barkindji Elders, parents and students in the Menindee community and its outcomes have drawn the attention of educational academics and policy consultants for its exceptionally positive effects on
the school and community culture. They included improvements in school-community relationships, greater parental involvement, high student attendance, increased retention rates, higher academic achievement and 100% HSC completion. Many community members and parents are working as teachers and teacher’s aides enjoying a school culture where their students’ cultural background and history was embraced rather than subsumed.
TRACKS: Menindee Design Enterprise
Wilcannia and Menindee Central Schools are delivering rigorous and comprehensive arts education programs that respond to identified needs in the community, in this case social enterprise, and deliver learning experiences in authentic settings, including galleries, studios and on country. By supporting this opportunity, the Department of Education will be contributing to the creation of pathways for Aboriginal enterprise in communities that presently
lack opportunity, by developing opportunities for students to build a commercial presence, celebrate the cultural diversity of their communities, and to feel pride in their personal achievements. A documentary produced by project Zone will document the process undertaken by the students, ex-students, Barkinji Elders and parents in creating their nationally exhibited artworks (including one hanging in Parliament House, Canberra). A portion of this funding financed the employment of talented ex-students to mentor the current students, and excursions to various capital cities (including Darwin International Art Fair) to better understand the context of their talent as measured by outputs of professional contemporaries currently exhibiting. This footage will feature in a final documentary outlining the incredible journey of these students, teachers, school and community. Tracks’ further growth and development will see increased opportunities for young artists and designers of Menindee, Wilcannia and surrounding regions to engage in and contribute to the Australian fashion, design and art markets. The program will help promote Baarka student artworks and stimulate student career and vocational opportunities.
Menindee Arts Trail
A world class art & design trail will be delivered as part of this innovative arts, cultural, and educational program, implemented by local teachers in Menindee & Wilcannia and supported by galleries, artists, and local arts councils. The art being created by students and ex-student mentors (employed as part of the MDED fund) has now become the foundation of 75+ installations around Menindee which showcase the students’ talents and tell the cultural story of the Barkindji and their relationship to Country and the Barka. This installation phase (funded by a separate generous grant from Menindee Council’s tourism budget) forms the basis of the Menindee art trail, which hopes to attract tourists and grey nomads as part of a broader outback tourism program. The installations (large billboards showcasing selected significant images) will be embedded with QR codes for visitors to watch content and interviews and gain a better understanding of the community and its artists. Images are licensed for printing on merchandise hats and T-shirts (art is retained to stay on Country) as souvenirs and tourist takeaways.
“This project will provide an online retail presence and promotions, including a documentary, to promote Baarka student artworks.” - Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia.
“This program will promote Baarka student artworks to the national and international community, creating jobs to deliver the project and future career paths for students,” - Mark Coulton, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government.
Murray Darling Basin Development Fund
Far West Darling Arts
Broken Hill Art Gallery
Menindee Enterprise Centre
Menindee Central School