Community sings praises of musical mural

VIBRANT PARADE: Jennie Matthews used a variety of demographics and instruments in the mural design.

By Brett Kennedy

MOUNT Gambier residents have sung the praises of artist Jennie Matthews who has put the final touches on a head-turning mural at the City Band Hall.

A vibrant and energetic musical parade now adorns the Pick Avenue hall’s exterior following seven weeks of work by Ms Matthews and her band of helpers.

The large-scale mural was received $10,000 funding from Mount Gambier City Council, with Ms Matthews pleased to see her vision come to life.

“I’m really pleased as my intention was to draw attention to the building,” Ms Matthews said.

“I’ve been in the music trade in Mount Gambier for over 25 years and I really want to see young people engage with the hall,” she said.

“It is a bit of a talking point.”

Ms Matthews said the design deliberately covered a range of demographics – from toddlers to retirees – and she depicted as many instruments as possible.

The experienced artists said passers-by and neighbours had stopped and marvelled at the work during the seven-week project, while others were kept up to date by Ms Matthews on social media.

“It is a very busy roundabout and until you stay there for a day, you don’t realise how much traffic goes through,” Ms Matthews said.

“We had people honk their horns or stop and came to tell us how much they liked it.

“I even had one older lady tell me that if she got married here she would want to come out and have photos in front of it, which I thought was nice.”

The mural adds to a series of renovations carried out at the community hall during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a small team overhauling several areas to complement relatively new toilet and kitchen facilities.

Ms Matthews said she was grateful for council’s support to make the project a reality, while she also commended Baxter Hire and several friends – including Elizabeth Ferguson – for helping throughout the process.

“There were about half a dozen people who stopped in and gave a couple of hours and it turned out to be a nice community event,” Ms Matthews said.

“It was very much a performance event – people were watching and commenting on the daily progress.”

A launch event will be held at the City Band Hall on November 29.

“We want to hold a community event with a musical performance and of course it needs to be COVID-Safe so we hope to have it outdoors,” Ms Matthews said.

The Border Watch will publish more details as the event nears.

In the meantime, Ms Matthews plans on enjoying a well-earned rest before her next big undertaking.

“I like these big projects that involve people,” Ms Matthews said.

“I am quite interested in doing some more murals around town because I think that will be a really good thing for town and tourism.

“I quite like the town, it is very musical.

“We have got a very healthy music scene in Mount Gambier at the moment – the healthiest I’ve seen it.”