The Joke's on Us
AN initiative to engage youth and provide more community art in Mt Evelyn has backfired with Morrison House students splashing a drug and alcohol-inspired mural across the Youth Enterprise Shed.
To passers-by the "street art" resembles three green monsters, a pink elephant, a roadrunner bird and the wording 'Fresh'.
Billanook Ward councillor Tim Heenan was last week tipped off on the art's hidden meaning by a Mt Evelyn teenager claiming adult residents had been duped.
Cr Heenan was shocked and disgusted to have uncovered the subliminal drug references to methamphetamines, PCP (phencyclidine) and ecstasy. The Australian Drug Foundation confirmed Cr Heenan's findings.
Morrison House chief executive Jan Simmons was disappointed with the response to the youth program. She said the alleged drug references were never the intention.
Morrison House is seeking expert opinion on the street art painted during the previous school holidays.
Mt Evelyn Traders Association president Steve Deakins condemned the work, labelling it as graffiti and something most people didn't want in their town.
"This is sheer vandalism - it's not art and it's not attractive. The graffiti doesn't paint Mt Evelyn in a good light."
The Mt Evelyn Community Bank supported Morrison House in hosting the street art workshop at the Enterprise Shed.
"It's a shame the graffiti has tarnished the bank's good reputation. For the Community Bank to be treated like this is pretty ordinary," Mr Deakins said.
Cr Heenan echoed the concerns, saying the "street art" has the potential to jeopardise [the Community Bank's] future involvement in the community.
"The VCAL program is an integral part of the community and it's disappointing the art's come from the students," Cr Heenan said.
15/09/2009 4:00:00 AM
BY GILBERT GARDINER
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