The youth of Tennant Creek celebrated the creation of a skate park at Purkiss Reserve late last year. It was a welcome addition to the facilities at the reserve. Young people from around the Barkly region relished the opportunity to show off their skating prowess, their scooter skills and their BMX talents.
The only thing missing from the skate park was a mark of ownership. Something needed to be done to show that the young people of Tennant Creek had made this place their own. To that end, the “Tennant Creek Skate Park Art Project” was born.
A collaborative effort between Tennant Creek Youth Diversion, Barkly Regional Council, Red Cross, Catholic Care, Barkly Youth Services, Anyinginyi Sport & Rec and Anyinginyi Stronger Families with funding supplied by TIO community grants for Territory Day 2015.
From the 22nd to the 26th of June, a series of workshops were put on with a visiting artist, Nish Cash. Over the week 40-50 young people participated in workshops that included concept work, idea mapping, artistic direction and use of spray paints to get the best effect on the surface.
The central part of the skate park became a sun with rays reaching out to all the corners. A Territory flag is displayed prominently on the main skate ramp. There are paw prints and emu tracks across the surface of the park. Outlines of many youngsters hands are an important feature around the outside of the park. Many people came together to paint this park and make it a proud, distinctive feature of Tennant Creek.
It is a testament to the drive, energy and enthusiasm of the young people of Tennant Creek that they were able to come together and create such a vibrant canvass.
It is also a great example of what can be achieved through community engagement. This project exemplified the message 'working in partnership to reduce crime and enhance community confidence'.
Many young people involved had also had brushes with the law and needed something to build their confidence and provide a positive experience that they can build on to make better decisions in the future.
This project was a great success for all involved and provides a great template for future youth engagement efforts.