Monaro Lanes project comes together with art installations underway

Published on 18 July 2022

Al Stark in Blacksmiths Lane on scissor lift next to mural

Four artists are creating a contemporary take on an evocative old-world experience as art installations begin in Blacksmiths Lane.

The concept for Blacksmiths Lane’s rejuvenation is to reimagine the laneway experience reminiscent of the blacksmiths and wheelwrights who used to work in Monaro Street dating back to 1877.

Renowned mural artist Al Stark started onsite on 6 July, hand painting large scale artworks that will transform the entrance to the laneway from Monaro Street.

Al is known for his contributions to the progression of the Melbourne street art scene since its inception in the late 90s. Al’s most recent work is concerned with forming abstract narratives in massive colour and symbolism accessible to everyone.

Award-winning, local artists Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend will be installing an art light wall. The design will feature a laser cut steel plate with artist drawn imagery relating to the blacksmith era. Once illuminated, the art light wall will offer improved safety and amenity for laneway users.

Local artist Michael Carruthers has created two hand forged signs that will be installed at each of the laneway’s entries. His in-ground sign will be installed when the laneway’s paving begins and the hanging sign will be the project’s final installation in mid-July.

The lane’s design also features new landscaping elements including seating, trees and upgrades to the current catenary lighting.

Blacksmiths Lane’s earthy handmade charm will contrast with its neighbour No Name Lane’s colourful and contemporary design. Canberra artist Yanni Pounartzis began mural work on No Name Lane in May.

This project benefited from over $500,000 in funding from the NSW Government under the Your High Street program.

Member for Monaro Nichole Overall said the Your High Street program was helping local businesses to recover after the COVID-19 pandemic and aimed to improve people’s safety and experience in public spaces.

“Thriving main streets are an integral part of any regional or rural community. In Queanbeyan, the many laneways help the pedestrian connectivity from one part of the CBD to another,” Mrs Overall said.

“The beautification of our laneways not only makes these spaces safer for people to use, but enhance the beautification and upgrades that were undertaken by the former Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.”

“Our main street is more than just a thoroughfare. It is a place where people can gather, socialise, dine and do business,” Mrs Overall said.

For more information about the program visit: https://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/premiers-priorities/great-public-spaces/streets/grants-for-councils

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