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Blackburn P.S.


Artist in Residence: Artist Adrian Ward

Blackburn Primary School: Art Installation

Since the start of 2019 Blackburn Primary School has been in the process of sourcing funding for a significant art installation
for their school grounds.
The administration team at Blackburn Primary in conjunction with Artist Adrian Ward has engaged in various negotiations and meetings to discuss the project. Gladys Liu local member for Chisholm, surveyed a number of site locations around the school with principal Andrew Cock, Vice-principal Marianna Fusillo, and artist Adrian Ward.
Art teacher Elizabeth Dixon and Artist Adrian Ward have continued to communicate and share exciting ideas. A recent site meeting on the 12th of Feburary was held to discuss new locations and the focus of the program that fit the aspirations of Blackburn Primary School and the RAV Creative Workers in Schools program.
Elizabeth long-time art teacher at Blackburn primary is enthusiastic about the project and working with Adrian Ward to create an all-encompassing art experience for the students.  This project will raise the awareness and the profile, and the importance of the arts in the school for prosperity.



Recently, Blackburn Primary‘s administration has suggested a new location. This new location for the project is to be positioned at the front entrance of the school which though has heavy use, aesthetically has little appeal.
A “mural in relief” using cement and paint is being developed by art teacher Elizabeth Dixson and artist Adrian Ward.

Incorporating ideas from children’s submitted drawings, the artist will use a cement build-up technique to create the 3D or relief mural directly onto the wall, at the entrance of the school.


The theme “Our Digital Nature” is an exploration into a mysterious world where technology meets nature, 3D meets 2D and art brings imagination into reality. In the mural, a strange landscape emerges, a world where a mouse is a mouse or is it a computer mouse.

The old tree's leaves blow in the wind or are they leaves? On closer inspection, some of these leaves are phones. Half bird half technology and other strange creatures are hidden amongst the foliage.

The inspiration for this strange imaginative world will be created in the minds of the children, drawn and incorporated into the overall design, then translated into relief by the artist.
Other sculptures will be scattered around the school grounds which will continue this theme into freestanding sculptures.

The mural is an inspiring fusion of traditional and contemporary, an embracing statement of caring for nature that is essential to our future….our children’s future.

Cement Relief.

The artist has proposed an innovative sculptural approach to the mural using cement render. After an initial rending of the brick wall with cement, the image is gradually built up in cement to create the relief form.


Patina & Painting

The artist intends to create the mural and the free-standing sculptures in white cement. This will allow for patina finishes, priming paint, and final painting.

Mural 2.jpg

Existing Sculpture Renovation & Sculptural Upgrade.

The existing sculpture on the grounds will be upgraded after 15 years. Structurally sound, the old sculpture created by volunteers will lend itself well to the cement process suggested by the artist and will continue the theme put forward by the artist, art teacher, and the students.


Overview & Student Involvement.

With the initial student drawings, the teacher and the artist intend to develop an inclusive program for all students at the school. The program will allow the individual students to feel that they have played an important part in the creative process, from brainstorming to sketching ideas around the theme.

Students will engage in mixing cement, with appropriate protective gear i.e. gloves, etc. They will use rubber moulds specifically created by the artist for this project, to create a range of cement elements for the mural. Grade 5/6 will be involved in not only mixing cement but the actual construction of different elements of the mural. For example, the forming of the foundational structure of the trees, assisting in creating molds, forming armatures, and a variety of other tasks.

The project's intention is to not only raise the profile of the arts in the school but to raise the aesthetic appearances of the grounds. The program aims to inspire the students to think creatively and to see the creative process from imagination to completion of a significant artwork.

Parellel Art Program.

In conjunction with the construction of the outdoor objects with grade 5/6 students, Artist Adrian Ward is able to run in-class workshops for all grade level students at Blackburn Primary School.

Adrian's art program will include drawing from found objects (Life Drawing class) and object plaster casting.

Please click the link here to view images and outline of Adrian's Fabric of Memory program:

Web Page:



Blackburn Primary School: Art Installation

COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown's has and continues to be a major interruption to our day-to-day life.
For children and particularly  Primary School students, this has meant long stretches of time in the home environment. 
For most, it's meant significant amounts of time in front of screens immersed in technology.

Indoor vs outdoor?

How to transition from the indoors back to the outdoors?...and can we be comfortable in the outdoor environment once again?

The "In Side Out Side" Art installation will use the vehicle of art to create a psychological transition, from the indoors to the outdoors in a collection of sculptural artworks located at Blackburne P.S.

The artwork asks the student in a physical and tactile way: can you change your behaviour to once again fully embrace outside and leaving the safety of the indoors?

The Artwork:

Familiar indoor objects: such as a couch, a coffee table, and various technologies are all cast into a cement reality.

The couch: appears to be comfortable but once physical contact is made by the student, the hard cement stone questions their behaviour patterns towards comfort.

The cement phone and laptop: sit on the cement coffee table are not connected to the Internet. 

The cement exercise ball: looks to be made for bouncing and sitting with correct posture. But on closer inspection, The object is more like a boulder, a rock, an outdoor object that will withstand the test of time.

The artwork puts forward a question, in the mind of the student through the vehicle of art. 
What is the difference between the indoor environment and the outdoor environment on my behaviour?



The Administration at Blackburn Primary School.

The administration at Blackburn Primary School towards the end of 2019, was in the process of sourcing funding for this exciting project.

Since that time and after discussions with the art teacher Liz, the exact location is yet to be determined. 

The enthusiasm for the project remains, artist Adrian Ward, art teacher Elizabeth Dixon, the Principal Andrew Cock and Vice-Principal Marianne Fusillo of Blackburn Primary school wish to re-initiate the project at a new agreed location on the school grounds to be determined.

The Project.


The outdoor sculptural objects will be constructed from a combination of chicken wire and cement.

This process is called Ferro cement. Students will assist in forming the chicken wire around the various objects and amatures. They will also assist in molding processes, including rubber curing and hydro stone plaster housings.

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