Announcing a new Aboriginal arts trail for Dandenong Creek

We are very excited to announce the commencement of a new project to create an Aboriginal arts trail along the Dandenong Creek over the next two years. In partnership with Living Links, the City of Greater Dandenong has secured a $150,000 grant from health promotion foundation VicHealth to create the arts trail. Working closely with Aboriginal Peoples and the broader community, the project will co-create seven place-based public artworks along a 22km section of the Dandenong Creek Trail between Heathmont and Dandenong. This will build on the success of the stunning ‘Spreading the Message’ artwork completed by Aboriginal artist Ian Harrison at Tirhatuan Park (Dandenong North) in April 2020.

Spreading the Message, created by Ian Harrison at Tirhatuan Park, Dandenong North

The arts trail project was motivated by a desire to:

  • foster a deep sense of connection to place, nature and community, improving health and wellbeing of participants and trail visitors;
  • draw inspiration from traditional Aboriginal cultural values whilst also weaving in and celebrating the perspectives and values of our contemporary multicultural community; and
  • increase use and appreciation of the Dandenong Creek Trail, creating a regional attraction that provides health and wellbeing benefits to all users.

The project is currently still in the early planning stages, with the crucial first step being to consult closely with Aboriginal Peoples about their ideas and aspirations for the project. In due course there will be opportunities for the broader community to get involved, so stay tuned for further updates.

The Dandenong Creek Arts Trail is one of 7 initiatives that will share in over $1 million in funding as part of VicHealth’s Everyday Creativity grants (follow the link to learn about the other projects being supported). The program is designed to promote health and wellbeing at the local level through participation in arts and culture.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio says creative new projects like the Dandenong Creek Arts Trail are designed to increase access for communities to encourage more people participate in and benefit from our arts, cultural and creative sectors.

“Regular arts and cultural engagement mean better health outcomes, but unfortunately opportunities to engage in arts, cultural and creative experiences are not evenly distributed. Many people in our community face significant and complex barriers to participation,” Dr Demaio said.

“In the midst of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is more important than ever to support our community to feel socially connected and included.

“We are proud of these new partnerships that can ensure cultural, physical and systematic barriers to good health are addressed and diminished so more Victorians live healthier lives.”