The writing was on the wall – or pictures, anyway – as five days devoted to words began on Wednesday.
For the first time, Lavington Library hosted the official opening of the annual Write Around The Murray festival.
“I think that’s a really important step to make this event accessible for our whole community,” Albury deputy mayor Amanda Cohn told the audience.
“We can support local and emerging writers, support a culture of reading, facilitate story telling, a diversity of stories and a way of thinking.”
Cr Cohn said the five-day writers forum featured more than 30 authors at 60 events and a three-day schools program.
“The festival also promotes a platform for local stories to be told and to celebrate our creativity,” she said.
“I hope that it will challenge, inspire and excite you.”
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The opening also unveiled the Youth Space Comic Art Project, where comic artist Mandy Ord and Border artist Kurt Saggers collaborated with young people from Lavington to transform the library’s youth area.
Ten young people, some who came via The Hive, YES Unlimited’s youth resource centre in Lavington, brainstormed ideas that developed into large illustrations on the wall.
Gino Soydara, 19, thanked Ord for the chance to contribute to the drawings.
“That symbolises where we are, the magpie, that represents what we see when you go for walks,” he said.
Murray High School student Tremaine Newman, 15, said he was glad to share the opening with his best mates.
“I’m proud to be here today,” he said.
Melbourne-based Ord thanked the young people in return.
“I just had the best time talking to you,” she said.
“Talking about art, talking about the kind of books that you like to read, just chatting about your lives, about what it’s like to be a young person living in Lavington and living in Albury.
“As much as the mural is a permanent fixture in the library now, which is your space, the actual creating of the mural for me has made something really permanent in my heart connected to you guys.”
The comic artist, whose work can be seen on Albury’s NBN Box Trail, admitted she’d worried at first about painting the library wall.
“Because you can’t get that off,” she laughed.
“But you guys were fearless, you just launched in and did it and I just stepped back.”
Write Around The Murray co-ordinator Ann-maree Ellis said people had responded well to the strong program.
“We’ve called it Life. Stories. because we are exploring bigger life themes, but also just the art of story telling,” she said.
For more details, go to writearoundthemurray.com.au.
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