The two anonymous North East based artists behind Myrtleford's popular riverside mosaic trail have collaborated with a school to create a huge mosaic tree, as part of a six month residency to support artists during COVID-19.
The mosaic artists, or Crackpot 1 and Crackpot 2 as they call themselves, participated in the Creative Workers in Schools program, which offers creative learning for students to highlight the value of the arts during the pandemic.
Crackpot 2 said the program was "fabulous".
"As emerging artists I guess the program is set up to mentor us," she said.
"So we received a lot of personal development and support through Regional Arts Victoria, we had a mentor and a manager and then we also got to work with the school."
Carckpot 2 said the work was especially helpful as the artists transitioned away from other jobs.
"Having this secure employment as an artist for six months as a paid artist role was actually really exciting," she said.
"After having a grant where you underestimate how much time and how much everything is going to cost and you end up paying yourself a couple of dollars an hour, to having a role where we were payed for six months in a school was just fantastic."
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Myrtlefords P-12 art teacher Kit Cartwright said her students had missed being creative and working together since the bushfires and lockdowns.
"So when this opportunity with Regional Arts came up and I jumped on it," she said.
"Because it was a chance not only for the Crackpots to gain local employment, which they'd been lacking so much, but for the kids, the mosaic trail was something that they all got really in touch with when they were in lockdown on their daily walks.
"So this was a nice way to put a nice front and show the community that the visual arts are really celebrated here at our school."
Ms Cartwright said creating the tree had been a mindful activity for the children.
"The kids got in the zone, it's like a jigsaw puzzle," she said.
Ms Cartwright said one of her favorite parts of the project was learning how it would impact the Crackpots.
"I actually got quite emotional when one of them said that this job, where they were employed part time for a term, gave her more money than she would have got in a year in her other part time job," she said.
"Everyone's enjoyed seeing their beautiful creations around town, but often I don't think they understand that a lot of that is unpaid work and it's just for the community.
"It's lovely to see creatives actually paid what they're worth and for what it's brought to the town I think it' worth every bit of that."
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