LOCAL artist David Bell has been contracted by the Foster Community Association (FCA) to develop some ideas to enhance the laneways in Main Street, Foster.
The local community is invited to have input into the project by sharing their own ideas via a survey, which can be found in copies of The Mirror purchased within Foster, at Prom Country Tourist Information, Foster (until the end of April), and online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/7Z2KWLX
This project is part of the greater vision of FCA’s town beautification project, and is generously assisted by a grant through the recent round of South Gippsland Shire Council’s Community Grants Program.
The FCA has a commitment to supporting projects that improve amenities and access for the Foster community and currently has a focus on the township itself. A recent project involved the refurbishment of the Foster rotunda in the main street.
The laneway project funding is for designs, but not for any implementation at this stage.
David specialises in public artwork, and has previously been involved in projects to improve amenities in public places. An integral part of these projects is to engage extensively with stakeholders and a broad cross-section of the community, so that the needs of the whole community inform the final plan.
Some of the laneways have the potential to provide shelter and seating and to become a focal point and tourist attraction for the town. David’s artwork is always tailored specifically to the site, and often to the history of the area.
“The Foster laneways form corridors between our car parks and what we present to the public in the form of shop fronts, but the lanes themselves often represent a first impression of our town: they are our underbelly,” David said.
“I’m really interested to see how we work together with shop owners and Council to maintain functionality while designing lanes that intrigue and inspire.
“Laneway improvement is a well-proven way to keep people in shopping areas for longer periods. Lanes can become destinations rather than thoroughfares, and safe (traffic free) pockets of public space for people to pause in.
“Each lane design will be approached differently, determined by ownership and current usage, and in collaboration with other artists, designers and stakeholders.
“The more extensive designs will be for the lane between IGA and Foster Seafoods. This primarily Council-owned land is a major thoroughfare, and is sometimes used by buskers and community groups selling raffles. Protection from weather will be a consideration, along with lighting, aesthetic appeal, and ease of passage for everyone in our demographic.
“But the single biggest factor that interests me is to create a sense of fun, and a celebration of our community.” David said.
The three laneways nominated by the FCA for consideration are: 1) between IGA and Foster Seafoods; 2) between Paragreen Real Estate and Glenn’s Sports & Gifts and 3) between Mitre 10 and Skye’s Café.
Rebecca Matthews has a background in arts project management and arts financing, and works with David as his Project Manager. She will be the main point of contact for community and stakeholders for this particular project and will liaise with all stakeholders along the way.
A survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/7Z2KWLX where community feedback will be welcomed.
Survey forms will be available at the Prom Country Tourist Information Centre in Foster until the end of April, and any hard copies from this edition of The Mirror can also be deposited at the Centre.
David’s previous work can be viewed on his website: www.davidmichaelbell.com.au