Picture this; a small school nestled in a picturesque valley, a lone teacher juggling the educational demands of students from Prep to Grade Six, Reading, Writing, Maths, PE , Science, Humanities, Music, then once a fortnight a van loaded with art materials and activities to inspire and excite the students in this remote school arrives. The students race out to meet the specialist art teacher and the children’s teacher beams as she hands over her charges for their hour an half of Art.
The Mobile Art and Craft Centres (MACC), cousins of the Mobile Area Resource Centre (MARC), are a fleet of mobile art classrooms which provide specialist art education to small rural and remote primary schools in Victoria. North East Victoria is lucky to be serviced by three of the eight ‘Art Vans’ in the state. Based at Whorouly, Everton and Moyhu primary schools these vans have been providing high quality art education to small schools since 1979. Initially they were funded jointly by the Commonwealth and State Governments with some extra funds provided by the parents bodies of the schools serviced, under the guidelines of the Country Education Project. However, in the mid 90’s funding of the vans was taken over by the State Government who continue to fund this invaluable program today.
The MACC vans have a proud history and the development of strong rural Arts Communities can partially be attributed to this wonderful service. Many Art Van teachers have co- ordinated Artists in Schools Programmes, contributed student work to exhibitions and festivals and staged student focused exhibitions which have showcased the wonderful creativity and talent of students from small schools.
These vans ensure that students in rural schools get the same opportunities as their cousins in bigger schools, ensuring that they too can begin their High School years with a solid grounding in the Visual Arts. They understand the importance of art in our lives, and value the contribution Artists make to our culture. Our world is smaller now with the advent of the internet and the global community, and these students from isolated schools are perhaps even more aware of the value of the online community and the opportunities it provides to inspire, promote and connect artists and their work without geographical borders.
This blog has been set up to share the explorations, experiments and successes of these students art sessions and to celebrate the creativity and pride which they put into their work. It is also to acknowledgement of the great contribution the MACC vans make to small schools and their communities