As a wise Madagascar lemur once said “We like to move it!” and the youth attending this months art2264 really proved it. With hip hop dance classes a familiar dance style, young people engaged in numbers not seen in previous art2264s. The Irish dance classes, led by Marieclaire de Whit-Beekmans and her assistant Jaye Monkley, pushed participants to try a style they may not have come across before.
The passionate Marieclaire de Whit-Beekmans started the ‘Irish Dance Academy – Voyage of Irish Dance’ to share both her love and knowledge of Irish dance with others. It has grown to encompass areas of both Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast. Marieclaire spoke highly of the fifteen participants in her art2264 class. “The kids energy was really good, they loved the skipping and the group dances.”
Marieclaire believes that anyone can give Irish dancing a go, regardless of age or skill level. “The fun of Irish dancing is clear, it’s not boring, it’s energetic and has a very big social aspect” she said.
Jaye Monkley who has been teaching with Marieclaire since 2009 saw the participants respond positively to the new activity, “Trying new and different things made them curious – it is good to be exposed to a different experience” Jaye said. Jaye believes the reason Irish dancing has such a positive social aspect, and is easily enjoyed by many, is because of the “different personalities mixing together, and because you don’t have to be super skilled, it’s about fun”
As a resident of the area for ten years, Marieclaire can see how the Morisset PCYC facility is what the community has needed for a long time, “I’m glad the PCYC is here” she said.
Another person who can see the PCYC’s positive impact is Lynette Bawl, as the current caterer for art2264 Lyn has seen how the facility is greatly impacting the community. “It’s been a pleasure to work with good people, on a great community project and I am very happy to be a part this fantastic idea.” Lyn has also noticed how her own daughter is making friends through the facility and engaging in new activities.
Lyn’s catering company ‘Busy Baking’is based out of Bonnells Bay. She said that she uses real food to get real taste, and that you can expect home made flavours and quality time put into her catering. Lyn prides herself on hand making not mass-producing her food items and not using any preservatives. When eggs are used they are always free range “You have to look after the chickens you know” Lyn jokes. And the biggest reason for the great tasting food? “The secret ingredient to all my food is a big pinch of love!” Lyn beams.
With the smell of paint lingering in the air, this month’s murals put the art into art2264. Manga and cartoon style paintings are decorated with bright graphic colours and patterned backgrounds, which results in bright, bold and brilliant paintings. While barefoot youths wearing aprons adorned with paint splashes fill in the larger spaces, their parents carefully paint the more meticulous areas. The collaboration allows the paintings to be finished to a high standard and gives everyone a chance to participate.
The paintings are themed to either show various hip-hop dancers or teddy bears doing different sports. Some standouts include a painting with a boxing teddy and a weightlifting teddy, which seemed particularly popular with the younger kids. The other popular choice was of a hip-hop girl with a polka dot background, which seemed more appealing to teenagers and adults. There were many more paintings either near completion or getting ready to be started, all designed by local youth artist Lillian Webb. The paintings were framed and will hang on the high walls in the entrance corner in the PCYC facility.
Without the helpers the paintings could not have reached the level they did in such a short amount of time. 14-year-old Angel Seiver art assistant helped out by directing children to create wonderful results, mostly supervising 4 and 5 year-olds. “They work pretty well and cooperate well with each other” Angel said. She has seen how the youths are interacting and says how it has been a positive experience. “The mixture of ages is a good thing, and it’s been really good actually helping out” she said.
Meanwhile artist Margrete Erling directs the art projects, offering advice to the young painters “you have to be slow and do a good job with the painting.” Margrete wants the paintings to be finished to a high standard so that everyone can enjoy them once they are displayed in the PCYC. She said that it will create a lounge room type feel, which will bring even more comfort and community to the facility.
As well as primary and high school students and their families, art2264 has attracted some extremely young art enthusiasts. Two toddlers marvelled at the pebbles on the mosaic project, communicating to each other with delighted squeals, while others pull ceiling high nets away to form a larger play area. Everyone looks at home in the space, whether they have a ball or a paintbrush in hand. Another successful art2264 completed.