Odgers Lane Art

About Odgers Lane Art

Bringing art and life to an intriguing Canberra space

Odgers Lane Art Description

Odgers Lane Art

The historic and iconic Melbourne Building on Northbourne Avenue in Civic is one of Canberra’s earliest buildings. Odgers Lane is the service lane and courtyard in the centre of the building. Odgers Lane Art is a Community Engagement project by Belconnen Community Service (BCS), supported by ACT Health. Odgers Lane Art's aim is to revitalise this space as a place for the community to connect.

Intriguing and engaging murals now adorn ACTEWAGL's historic sub-station in the centre of the lane. The artworks depict humans, plants and animals in surreal urban landscapes that playfully reflect the heritage-listed facades of Odgers Lane.

The works were designed and painted by German-born, Canberra resident, Susanne Ilschner. Ilschner, a graduate of the ANU School of Art, painted the murals in September 2012. Odgers Lane Art is her most monumental work to date.

During 2011-2012 BCS undertook community consultation on how to depict people’s connection with the space. Community members contributed their ideas in the form of drawings, decorated scale models and written descriptions. Electronic information and images were circulated through the Odgers Lane Art Facebook page and other forums. Community Engagement activities included on site craftternoons at Smith’s Alternative Bookshop and activities at the You Are Here Festival in March 2012. Consultation also took place with specific groups of marginalised people through BCS programs; including young people experiencing disadvantage, people living with disabilities and adults recovering from mental illness.

Community contributions were analysed by a panel of artists and designers, including lecturers from the University of Canberra’s faculty of Arts and Design, artist and BCS staff including artist, Susanne Ilschner. The panel looked at common themes that emerged from the various submissions. These themes were incorporated into draft designs that were developed further through consultation with ACT Health, Economic Development Directorate, local businesses, Heritage ACT and ACTEWAGL.

Odgers Lane Art has occurred concurrently with other improvements in Odgers Lane, including new traffic arrangements and paving. Canberrans and visitors are now able to connect with each other and with the space while enjoying alfresco dining in the area.

Ilschner and other BCS staff have received lots of positive feedback from people passing through the lane, from local business owners, and from the general public by email and via the Odgers Lane Art Facebook page. Many have commented on the effectiveness of the art in the space.

The murals’ transformation of the building is really fantastic! What a wonderful job by both artist and BCS!
By Email

Terrific work - it is stimulating and adds so much to that part of Canberra. Laneways were once places to avoid, now they are being opened up as places of cultural appreciation and aesthetic.
Via Facebook

The design would perfectly fit into my present residential area in Frankfurt that is much characterised by Ernst May's concept of the early 1920s. As it turns out, his favourite colours were this . . . blue and siena red I recognise on your photos.
Via Facebook

wow . . awesome, and in downtown canberra too xxxx
Via Facebook

Over the years, ACTEWAGL has made a number of its sub-stations available for approved street art. Senior manager, Dennis Stanley describes the work in Odgers Lane as, "very impressive". ACTEWAGL reminds our street art community that it is necessary to seek permission before using any of its assets as a canvas.

BCS expresses its appreciation for the input of all stakeholders, with special thanks to: Karl Heath, Edith Van Loo, Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, The University of Canberra Faculty of Arts and Design, The Riotact, everyone who contributed ideas and feedback and our many Facebook friends

More about Odgers Lane Art

Odgers Lane Art is located at Melbourne Building, Odgers Lane, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2602