My beautiful nephew is an emerging Ballarat artist who has been doing his best to get involved in art at all levels around Ballarat.
He has made big efforts to educate himself about art both academically and practically. He often asks my advice about classical art and architecture.
I proofread his written work and cast an analytical eye over his visual art works as I also studied fine art when I was at university eons ago.
We visit art galleries together and exhibitions here and interstate. I reckon both of us know a fair bit about art and beauty.
Beautiful Nephew put in a submission to paint signal boxes as part of the public art initiative run by our forward-thinking council.
He submitted his plans for a box using the designs of kids from the Ballarat Specialist School.
These kids all excitedly created their designs over the space of several weeks with Beautiful Nephew who collated and put these images together in a cohesive design.
Forward-thinking art directors from our council approved this design because they thought it said something unique and quirky about kids in Ballarat who are usually ignored.
Beautiful Nephew worked in the rain and sleet for four long days to complete this design in Lydiard Street.
I know how cold and miserable it was because I made the effort to visit and photograph this emerging artwork.
It was great: colours and patterns jump out of the grey shadows to focus some energy and light onto the footpath in Lydiard Street.
It blends in well because the grey classicism of the formal architecture behind the signal box provides substance and contrast to the energy of the kids' designs.
Wow! Ballarat art and the busy precinct of Lydiard Street amping up its relevance and vibrancy to add meaning and value to all its users.
My rates well-spent so far!
However, Beautiful Nephew was distraught last night after a phone call from the heritage committee who wanted to advise him that they considered this signal box particularly not in keeping with the heritage values they were elected to protect and that the box would be painted over as soon as possible.
What? No consultation or negotiating? Sounds like the Nazis in the Weimar Republic destroying modern art. I can't imagine anyone on the heritage committee who is a parent of a child, disabled or not, could possibly support the removal of artwork on this signal box.
I fervently hope those people on the heritage committee do not have such narrow minds or narrow hearts.
Beautiful Nephew will suffer the fate of Banksy and other famous artists whose works were obliterated, if these people condemn our streets to grey classical conservatism.
We all deserve better.