Local Schools & Early Learning
Sam custom designs highly creative programs, intuitively responding to the brief from schools. Most schools invite Sam back for more.
Students are spellbound as the mural evolves like an unfolding illusion. They learn art techniques as Sam communicates method and the wisdom behind the art.Her work with schools such as Tweed Heads South Public School, Ocean Shores Public School, Ballina Public School, Cabbage Tree Island Public School – just to name a few – have yielded positive results from teachers, students, and principals alike.
Most school murals take from 2 to 5 days to complete.
Riverbank Public School
I took a trip to Sydney to paint a mural for the library at Riverbank Public School. It was meant to take three days but the risk of lockdown reduced it to two. It was windy and noisy and I have never felt such extreme pressure to cover walls and floors. It really was overwhelming at times. I didn’t have time to communicate, as I normally do, with some of the most inquisitive, kind, brave, intelligent and multicultural students I have ever met. This is a school 2000 students strong. And these children are grateful for the chance to learn. I feel sad that I denied them the interaction we would both have enjoyed. I can’t tell how how much I value Jennifer Kennedy for her amazing organisation and delightful disposition, even when changing flights and shuttles. A superstar in that school. And always to Jeanie Brown, a giant of a principal even when she is sporting a bright pink box car thanks also to Deputy Principal Ben for being a brilliant chauffeur.
Leeville Public School
When children feel sad, angry or just in need of time out, they require a place to contemplate. Leeville Public School’s students chose the seasons to reflect their moods and a quote to help offer hope in moments of bleakness.
Currumbin Pines Early Learning
Description to follow!
Kool Beanz Childcare Centre Ocean Shores
"Jinghi Wallha” means Welcome in the Minjungbal language, a clan within the Bundjalung Nation and where the Ocean Shores Kool Beanz Early Learning Centre sits. The mural depicts the vista from Ocean Shores beach, the totem creatures and their names in language written in the sand. I would like to acknowledge my friend and Minjungbal Elder Marcia Browning who, with her family, provided me with all the information I needed. I wanted the children to appreciate the cultural significance of the land where they learn each day and for the mural to expand their comprehension of how the traditional owners taught their young based on nature’s example.
Kool Beanz Childcare Centre Byron Bay
“A Good Life" is the title of this mural. It was one of the most emotional I have ever painted because it encapsulates the principals of making choices that are in the best interests of Mother Earth. Within the rainforest setting we see a Bundjalung mother teaching her daughter about the bush tucker they have collected in their Coolamon, having only taken what they need. Her son catches a fish using a fishing spear so no waste to pollute the waterways. As mothers brought their children in each morning, there was no question that the message was singing the room.
Coomera Springs State School
Commissioned for the library’s outdoor classroom, the brief was to create a visual feast for the school’s newly built outdoor classroom. The idea is to ignite the imagination with visual portals into the pages of books. I chose to limit characters to enable the students to imagine stepping into the landscapes of their favourite stories rather than just seeing the pictures. The grey concrete pathway became a stream with fish pools, rocks and a beach to soften the edges of the sandstone blocks. The mural took seven days for the walls and one day for the path. Depicted are scenes from Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Narnia.
Duration: 4 Days
Ballina Public School
Sam painted the first mural during the summer holidays; her longest ever mural that stretched almost the entire length of the school along Tamar Street. A witty scene of seagulls baking and pelicans enjoying the beach. This became the 1st of 7 myriad murals depicting the sea and land scapes of Ballina. The paintings cheered up a school dominated by brick walls and totally transformed the learning environment and was deeply appreciated by students and staff. One boy in kindergarten on his second day who hadn’t spoken began to talk when his teacher took him over to the dolphin mural and she came up to Sam with tears in her eyes to tell her what had happened.
Duration: 7 Murals - 16 Days
Cabbage Tree Island Public School
Sam has a long association and deep affection for Cabbage Tree Island Public School and was delighted when Principal Dyonne Anderson asked her to consult with the community and pupils for a landscape to showcase beautiful wooden burn carvings that had adorned the school’s exterior walls for some years. The students were so engaged with the project that Sam asked Dyonne if she could invite students to paint, one on one, with her. It was the most bonding and healing mural Sam had ever painted.
Duration: 5 Days
Coffee Camp Public School
Situated in one of Lismore Shire’s most beautiful spots, Coffee Camp oozes Big Scrub Rainforest and history. So this mural shows the Nimbin Rocks, a waterfall and birds and animals who have roamed the land, some endangered, some extinct. Sam has embarked on a second mural for the school: a beautiful Star Tree with birds singing notes, students perched in the branches and books to showcase the Tree of Knowledge.
Duration: 2 Murals - 4 Days each
Condong Public School
The beautiful Tweed River skirts the school grounds. So, it was inevitable to depict life above and below the river surface. Marcia, an indigenous teacher who has worked at Condong School for decades, guided Sam to include species of significance to her mob.
Duration: 2 Murals - 2 Days and 4 Days
Duranbah Public School
Duranbah Public School overlooks plains to the sea. These plains are about to be developed and hundreds of houses will be built. Sam sat the students in circle and they wanted to be able to see how their current view of natural beauty for years to come. So that’s what Sam painted and included species they see there.
Duration: 4 Days
Kyogle Public School
The Principal of Kyogle PS wanted to beautify his school entrances with amusing, welcoming and relevant creatures. So Sam painted the brush turkey (Kyogle’s emblem) and powerful owls (for knowledge!)
Duration: 2 Days
Southern Cross Public School
The 1st mural for SC Public School was a P and C initiative to paint the junior school canteen. Sam consulted with the canteen manager, Lisa and Treasurer of the P and C and listened to their priorities: healthy, home made and happy. The mural depicts quirky native animals eating their favourite healthy foods with children and a blackboard announces the café as a Life Saver that serves food that nature intended.
Duration: 4 Days
The 2nd mural was a joint venture with Mirryndah Nixon, a young Bundjalung woman who Sam had invited to work with her on Aboriginal themed murals. They sat in circle with four students and Mirryndah worked with the students’ ideas to create a scene based on the 2015 theme of We Stand on Sacred Ground. The scene depicts a circle of stones and footprints where indigenous and non-indigenous students have shared their learning tools: designs drawn in sand and books surrounded by birds and one students totem: the pippi.
Duration: 2 Days
Uki Public School
A very tired and rather rusty demountable building is Uki’s canteen and sits centre stage in one of Tweed Shire’s most picturesque schools. Sam changed it completely with a rainforest creek scene on one side, a night scene of powerful and rufous owls on the other side with Wollumbin looming in the background. Then the entrance where the students walk through the door is a Satin Bowerbird’s bower. Sam has returned to the school to paint the inside so students will actually be inside the bower!
Duration: 3 Murals - 6 Days
Wilsons Creek Pre-School
A parent commissioned this mural to say thank you for the years their two children attended WC pre-school. Sam studied the species found in the Wilson’s Creek and during the school holidays she painted this ‘surprise’ for returning students and staff. The building overlooks the top of the tank so it was important to her that the roof of the tank was as beautiful as it could be.
Duration: 2 Days