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An artistic transformation in Wardell

By David Gordon

A youth graffiti art project is set to transform the Pacific Highway underpass at Wardell.

The project, an initiative of the Ballina District Community Services Association, (BDCSA) enhances an existing program that has been offering services and activities to young people in Wardell for more than a year.

Up to 15 young people will take part in six weeks of afternoon workshops with the result, a full make over for the underpass that is currently grey concrete and attracts random graffiti regularly.

Youth Worker Matt Tanttari, said that the weekly afternoon program had already received a positive response from the local community including shopkeepers, parents and young people themselves.

“This new project will give young people with an interest in art the opportunity to create a public artwork, which will in turn create a sense of ownership.”

“The whole process will be beneficial. Participants will be able to develop their artistic skills, learn to work as a team and have the chance to connect with each other,” he said.

BDCSA Manager Alex Grantham said the art project was made possible by a $3000 grant from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation and would be available to 12-18 year olds.  Alex believes that the impact of such projects cannot be underestimated.

“Kids have the opportunity for social interaction in a place where they feel accepted and safe and in turn we can help identify where there is a need for support or other services.”

“It’s incredible to see kids when that light bulb comes on, ‘I did that’ or ‘I can do that” – creative expression builds confidence. What we want to do is give these young people the confidence to talk about what is going on for them,” Alex said.

The project begins in term two and will culminate in an unveiling for the entire community.

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation is an independent philanthropic organisation that provides sustainable long-term benefits to the Northern Rivers Community. For more information or to make a donation, please visit or phone 6686 2887.

For more information about the Wardell project, contact Matthew Tanttari on 0448 737 848 or email

Picture: Youth Worker Matt Tanttari, and volunteers Andrew Constable and Jared Moss give the Wardell youth art project the thumbs up.

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