Street Champion Tracey.

An artist standing next to a painting on a stobie pole.

Project: Gorilla Art & Community Gardening

Suburbs: Kilkenny, Semaphore South, Ethelton, Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Unley Council & the City of Charles Sturt, South Australia

Tracey is a Street Champion who has facilitated a series of street greening and gorilla art projects, including:

  1. Gorilla Art Kilkenny Stobie Pole art: They started this in 2016 fully with a grant from the City of Charles Sturt. After two rounds Tracey still supplies paint. Her work helped a group in West Croydon start up that did the same thing. Their paint at the end of the project went to 19 on Green Community Centre and is given out in the City of Charles Sturt in their first ever Paint Bank.
  1. Gorilla Art History walk and booklet: They held two years of events in 2016 and 2017. A booklet was produced. It helped enable our local historian Gino to start and run his own history events on the area from 2018 to 2019.
  2. Gorilla Art Road Mural: This was undertaken around 2019. Local arts and a few members of the community painted a large mural to represent the area.
  1. Gorilla Art Butterfly Park: This was undertaken in 2018. The project was only partially supported by the City of Charles Sturt gardeners and it lost momentum. It is still there and could be rekindled in the future.
  1. Gorilla Art Kilkenny activism on building and development projects: Tracey worked on the sale of Aroona Road to the Glass Factory and the Bianco Development DPA plan. This encouraged many residents to take part in the process.
  1. Greening my Hood workshops/chats and Postcard Project: Tracey held some discussion groups and information sessions that were small to large in attendance. The Postcard Project and the Verges Alive project was developed from these discussions.
  1. Greening my Hood verge ideas incorporated into Verges Alive by the City of Charles Sturt:

“We empower others to create their own project from our idea. This is how change can work at a grass roots level.”

An artist standing next to street art.
Environmental art to brighten up the neighbourhood.

Tracey, what’s your best piece of advice for anyone embarking on an ‘In Our Street’ project?

“Find something that interests people, that they care about and want to do as the subject matter.

There is quite an art to engaging a group of people equally. You may end up being the doer. Or whilst trying to control outcomes and group dynamics to keep things on track you can become controlling.

My experience has taught me the following:

  • Create fair, equitable documentation that provides a framework for people to use in projects.
  • Avoid allowing people to be subjective and critical of other people’s ideas.
  • Give people the reins to navigate their own journey.
  • Assist those that need your help to work out a strategy of action.
  • Be fair. Equally help under and over achievers.
  • Be empathetic, not everyone has the same advantages or understanding.
  • Show the way forward by creating demonstration projects that people can learn from.

When things go awry try not to take things personally, step back and be objective.”

A street art painting of a native bee.
Street art painting in Kilkenny.

What has this project meant to you?

“Greening my hood was able to come up with ideas that council then brought to life. The decision to gift them these ideas and step back allowed us to feel proud of our part of the journey without exhausting our own resources. Council had the experience and resources to create something wonderful with the Verges Alive project.

The same ethos was presented in our postcard Greening my Hood project. We empower others to create their own project from our idea. This is how change can work at a grass roots level.

Gorilla Art was a bit of a practicing ground for me. I had both good and bad experiences in my time on the project. It lead to paid work in the long run and gave me experience to use in a practical way for my Honours project on Community Engagement. This looked at changing minds within community on the environment crisis in 2018.

A group of people in a park planting.
Community members working together to green their hood!
A picture of a newspaper clipping of the Kilkenny Gorilla Art group.
Gorilla Art group members.