Projects

Since its opening in 2010, St Marys Corner has developed or hosted a great number of exciting community and cultural projects and events.

A collection of old black and white photos spread over each other

Windows on Queen is a cultural project that seeks to bring the history of St Marys to the people of Penrith.

Posters presented in windows along Queen Street showcase the history of each place, allowing the viewer to explore the colourful past of the St Marys town centre through an unfolding narrative. The posters trace these histories through photographs, interviews and thorough research about the buildings and the people who worked or lived there.

The exhibition runs from 25 July to 5 September. Community members may see the exhibition by:

If you’re taking the self-guided options, it’s recommended that you download a QR reader so you can access interviews and extended location information during your visit.

The project was proposed by local community members with a passion for local history. Realising there was a great community interest in the towns’ rich history, the group began to investigate the history of Queen Street with the willing support of the local community, shop keepers and their families.

The project is creatively developed and produced in collaboration with a community working group interested in local social history and supported by a talented artistic team. A full list of project participants is available in the exhibition booklet.

Kevin O’Halloran, Dog Grounds Orchard Hills, 2015, Oil on canvas

ArtWest - St Marys Annual Art and Craft Exhibition is a great avenue for local artists and those from the wider Western Sydney area, fine arts students, school students, artisans and craft people to annually showcase their work in different artistic mediums.

Since establishment in 2012 the exhibition has grown in exhibition space, in number of participating artists and in creative value.

The exhibition is supported by local business by way of encouragement awards for those exhibiting in the various categories and in-kind support of exhibition materials.

ArtWest is organised annually at St Marys Corner by St Marys Area Community Development Project (SMACD) in partnership with Nepean Potters Society and with support of Penrith City Council. 

To download entry forms for artists and to find out more about the exhibition please visit SMACD website.

ArtWest Opening

ArtWest Opening 2016

Queen Street Riches and Textures 2017

A Temporal Skin, Queen Street is a cultural project developed through two corresponding narratives - place and identity.

It is presented through five short video stories and a number of poetic minute-long video snippets that reveal history of the place and cultural diversity of St Marys.

I am interested in the collection of signatures from people who live in the area as representation of ownership and identity.

From artist statement by Denis Beaubois, principal artist Queen Street Riches and Textures 2017

Over several months of research, location visits and meetings with over forty local residents Denis has developed an inventive artist’s proposal which in a subtle way promotes the identity of the local community. Using interviews and documentary video forms and blending them with archival material supplied by the community, the artist has carefully collected and creatively translated unique local signatures, symbols and stories that speak about Queen Street St Marys.

A number of recording sessions have been arranged around Queen Street – in private residents houses, the neighbourhoods which preserve fibro houses and cottages from the WWII period, the 50’s and recent public housing surrounding Queen Street and at St Marys Corner.

These visits are presented in three Recollections works, treasured childhood memories told by local residents about growing up in and around the duration cottages in St Marys.

As part of the project I spent some time with the historic society, where I was introduced to some of the rich history of the area. From these discussions emerged the Recollections works, a series of conversational videos that look at the lived history of the duration cottages around the area.

These recollections do not stand as authoritative works on the history of such dwellings, rather they simply allow members of the community to share and document what life was like growing up in the cottages.

Furthermore the recollection videos also quietly reflect how these temporal dwellings have evolved into a long term permanent fixture of the community and in doing so have become emblematic of a particular post war time in the area’s history.

Philippine Language and Cultural Association of Australia (PLCAA) Performance Series - Choir and Dancers works in a documentary fashion presenting two cultural performances in a traditional Australian community hall that speak about the power of language, cultural heritage, unity, cultural collaboration and exchange.

Spending time on Queen Street I was also inspired by the multicultural aspect of the area. Seeing people from all around the world raised the question of how past and personal cultural histories coexist with the history of a site? Using this as a point of departure I began to imagine what people were thinking of when they walked the streets? What language or languages filled their thoughts and memories as they navigated Queen Street? From this emerged the Songs from my homeland (community rendezvous exercise), where members of the community were invited to share a song from their home land in their native language.

Community Rendezvous Series, minute long recordings of residents singing and poetry reading in different languages was created through an open community call - Do you have a memory, poem or song you would like to share with us in your own language?

Nine video snippets were created disclosing linguistic diversity and rich tapestry of cultures that comes from historical and recent migration to St Marys. Filipino, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Turkish, Vietnamese, Arabic, South Sudanese and Spanish languages are presented by local residents.

Toko Nakao and Lisa Nakao performing Traditional Japanese Children song in Japanese as part of Community Rendezvous Series of performances

These songs are private moments that have been shared and rendered public. In doing so they provide an opportunity to gain a small, selective and intimate insight into the complexity of contemporary Australia. Another version of an ever changing temporal skin.

St Marys Corner is delighted to have Denis Beaubois as a creative producer behind Queen Street Riches and Textures 2017. His practice has been driven by ideas and community engagement processes rather than the medium he used. In a larger context, the videos produced for A Temporal Skin, Queen Street suggest and observe Queen Street in a fluid perspective to both time and place, the history and location.

We also thank TAFE Western Sydney Institute Nepean Arts and Design Centre for technical support in mentorship and productive collaboration with a number of community organisations and over forty local residents in making this year’s project happen.

QSRT 2016 - Surfaces, Angles, Corners

Writing and poetry groups are among the most vital and creative organisations of any community. The St Marys Creative Writers Group (SMCWG) is one of the oldest local community groups at St Marys Corner.

The group has been supported since its formation in 2000, by the St Marys Area Community Development Project (SMACD), a local non-profit community based organisation managed and run by local people.

The members of the group have appeared in various publications and many have been published and accredited with awards. The SMCWG anthology is published annually and has been officially deposited at the State Library of NSW, Penrith Library and the National Library in Canberra.

In 2016 SMCWG celebrates 15 years of creative endeavors and with this important anniversary, the Queen Street Riches and Textures Project invited the SMCWG to work together on a new creative project. Angela Stretch, Sydney based writer, artist and creative producer was appointed to collaborate with the group. From a series of meetings, concept discussions and creative writing workshops at the SMACD Arts and Crafts Studios a new creative book venture emerged.

With a new vision and context, fresh ideas and perspectives on stories, the inspiring Surfaces, Angles and Corners St Marys was produced. Published contributions include the SMCWG facilitator Gayle Barbagallo, Adel Farag, Richard List, Gabrielle Moran, Joel Stoneburner, Michael Stoneburner, and Jacqueline Tasik.

This project was also open for submissions to writers from the greater Penrith community to submit stories, historical accounts, articles, and poems. Written work featured includes Abaker Athum, Ben, Lyn Forde, Caroline Volkiene, Tomoko Ward and George Sullivan’s poem, St Marys, written circa 1920.

Four student candidates from TAFE Western Sydney Institute Nepean Arts and Design Centre - Ann Babinard, Amber Bolton, Sarah Emerson and Anita Faulkner - were also part of the creative team. Surfaces, Angles and Corners provided them with new challenges and an opportunity to interpret written material into visual media. Contributing to the design and visual presentation of the book carried with it new experiences and learning.

Experimenting with words, text, images, photographs, video and sound has been the source of content and material of the Surfaces, Angles and Corners: Queen Street St Marys book.

Surfaces, Angles and Corners: Queen Street St Marys has been a great participatory project that has generated great creative drive, and encouraged artistic learning on so many levels.

The book Surfaces, Angles and Corners: Queen Street St Marys is a collection of observations, memories and passages created to document illustrate, challenge and stimulate new conversations about St Marys.

Download the Queen Street Riches and Textures 2016 Catalogue (pdf 2.44mb)

The Project

The language we speak has stories embedded in its very fabric. Our discourse is inter-textual, laced with allusions of narratives and texts from other places and times. Turning from size to shape with things of such everyday commonality that we normally pass unnoticed, writers and poets may start to compose with timelessness in mind, a design in search of a narrative that will reveal the constructs of a community.

- Angela Stretch, Senior Creative Producer, Queen Street Riches and Textures 2016

Queen Street Riches and Textures 2016 promoted an exciting new direction in community and cultural development introducing creative process of writing poetry, live performance and publishing to enable individual and community learning and transformation.

Balloons by Anita Faulkner

The project has engaged with members of a well-established local community writers society - St Marys Community Creative Writing Group. Since February 2016 the group has worked with Inner Sydney based writer and artist Angela Stretch through a series creative poetry writing and mentoring workshops to develop a new body of work that is inspired by Queen Street’s history, places of interest and the street’s future.

Creative and inspirational community walks, visiting places of interest, historical research and storytelling, mentoring and poetry writing sessions have been facilitated by the project team on Queen Street and at the Arts and Craft Studios at St Marys Corner.

The project featured the knowledge and expertise provided by a wide range of partners where community cultural development, community engagement, mentoring, creativity and learning come together. It also opened opportunities for printed and electronic poetry publishing, performance poetry and the possibilities that have emerged from intersection of written word, multi-media and visual arts.

The community engagement have been achieved mostly through social and creative activities of St Marys Community Creative Writing Group and through an open community call for creative writing as well as through an open communication with people at Queen Street St Marys.

The project has also provided creative mentorship possibilities through engagement of five art students from TAFE Nepean Arts and Design Centre that have contributed in producing new work in line with an open creative proposal.

Queen Street Riches and Textures 2016 Surfaces, Angles and Corners: Queen Street St Marys was produced at St Marys Corner Community and Cultural Precinct in collaboration with St Marys Area Community Development Project (SMACD) and support of Community and Cultural Department at Penrith City Council, St Marys Creative Writers Group, Nepean Arts and Design Centre TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute, St Marys and District Historical Society and WOW FM St Marys.

Queen St Riches and Texture guest artist and mentor Angela Stretch

Participating students from Nepean Arts and Design Centre TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute Ann Babinard, Amber Bolton, Sarah Emerson and Anita Faulkner.

QSRT 2015 - Sharing the Seeds

The Sharing the Seeds project was developed at St Marys Corner from November 2014 to June 2015 and has created exciting networks between artists, art educators, local gardeners and farmers, and Council services.

Creative producers at Maitree House, Peta Khan and Leigh Bramall, have captured multimedia stories through interactions with the St Marys community. They worked closely with the Nepean Arts and Design Centre to mentor students and develop their art projects. They were informed and inspired by stories from the local community. Participating students Annette Bukovinsky, Joel Cooper, Patricia Thomson, Phillip Chaffey andJustin Zennil Bishop, used painting, writing, poetry, sculpture, weaving and digital media for their works.

Other project components of Sharing the Seeds are Conversations at the Vegetable Beds by photographer and community art facilitator Jagath Dheerasekara and I am a Seed, I’m a Small, Small Seed, a video storytelling piece and installation by artist David Ryan.

Parallel to these creative initiatives there has been a number of educational and community gatherings - seed exchange meetings, educational workshops and visits to local gardens. These activities have been supported by the generous exchange of knowledge, expertise and innovative ideas around gardening and sustainability. Partners and collaborators in this process were Mamre House, Permaculture Sydney West, TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute Nepean Arts and Design Centre and Council.

Th Sharing the Seeds project has generated passionate engagement from the community in responding to local and regional sustainability challenges and demonstrated further opportunities for creative expression and artistic exchange.

Queen Street Riches and Textures 2015 - Sharing the Seeds project was produced at St Marys Corner Community and Cultural Precinct from November 2014 to June 2015. Sharing the Seeds exhibition will be on display at Mamre Festival, Mamre House 181 Mamre Road, Orchard Hills on 25 October 2015 and at Penrith Regional Gallery and The Lewers Bequest from 5 December 2015 to 21 February 2016.

Download the Queen Street Riches and Textures 2015 Catalogue (pdf 1.45mb)

QSRT 2014 - Soundlapse

Penrith Council supports creative industries and values the social, cultural and economic capital contributes to our region.

Each year St Marys Corner produces a Queen Street Riches and Textures project through the engagement of professional contemporary artists who mentor local emerging artists within a selected artistic medium. The engagement is one of creative collaborations, mentoring, social interaction and conversations between artists and community in exploring place.

This year we engaged Peta Khan and Leigh Bramall, of Maitree House, Sydney based multi-media artists to produce Soundlapse, an exciting sound-based narrative about Queen Street St Marys. Peta Khan and Leigh Bramall provided their extensive professional experience mentoring the students at the Nepean Arts and Design Centre TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute. Projects such as this enrich the emerging artist’s skills and offers valuable real world experiences in the creative industry.

Using mobile digital media as a creative interplay of image, sound and video is an increasingly popular way to experience and document specific places. The mobile and smart phone technologies innovativelly capture the information-rich environment, enabling an immediate creative translation of what was recorded.

Queen Street Riches and Textures 2014 - Soundlapse interacted with people in their specific locality using the low-tech, low-cost and high-creative mobile digital media, documenting sounds and images capturing the social and cultural dynamics of the street and its vicinity.

The outcomes have created an inventive use of sound and photographic essays, website development, podcasts and sound maps that allow the community to easily find, learn about, and interact with Queens Street’s past, present and future.

We congratulate everyone who made this year’s Queen Street Riches and Textures project such an exciting, successful creative and inventive venture.

Teenagers doing art and craft

The Teens Art Club was an initiative of St Marys Corner Community and Cultural Precinct which was invitingpartnerships with community and cultural organisations to develop and promote diverse creative programs for young people.

Since 2011 this initiative has hosted, facilitated and developed exciting programs for children age 12 - 22 in collaboration with West Words, Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), South Sudanese community, Magnetic Places at Penrith City Council and others.

Jewellery for Beginners with Rosalie Thompson was a memorable workshop for young people facilitated by Penrith City Library Children's Holiday program in 2013. Participants learned about where to start with jewelery making - from basic techniques to creating necklaces, earrings and bracelets all in their own jewellery style. Image courtesy of Penrith City Library.

QSRT 2013 - Faces of St Marys

We invited Chris Peken, a Sydney based photographer who has extensive professional experience in portrait and street photography to be Queen Street Riches and Textures 2013 lead artist.

Chris responded with a simple and straightforward proposal – to photograph people of St Marys.

Faces of St Marys was born and gradually developed during 10 intensive weeks in an improvised photographic studio at St Marys Corner. The studio was the place where people would visit, sit and share their stories. St Marys residents from all walks of life were asked the same questions: What does Queen Street mean to you? What is its importance and character? What are the personal and collective memories connected to the street? What is Queen Street going to look like in the future?

The studio also expanded to Queen Street itself where a simple white backdrop, 1967 Hasselblad 500C camera and a passion to meet people and have conversations resulted in additional Faces of St Marys images. An exciting part of Faces of St Marys was Chris’ mentoring of four TAFE Arts and Design students.

Barbara Glover, Kira Ogston, Sevket Ufuk Guden and Yvonne Larkins, currently enrolled in Photo Imaging courses, also captured the life and culture of the street, searching for what a street photographer would call a “decisive moment”. After taking several hundred photographs, 24 striking images have been selected for this exhibition.

The people of St Marys of different ages and diverse cultures have came together as part of this project by sharing common experiences and memories of Queen Street. Through their participation in the Faces of St Marys, Queen Street Riches and Textures 2013 has captivated a collage of photographs and stories of a distinctive suburb and its people.

Download the Queen Street Riches and Textures 2013 Catalogue (pdf 44mb)

Young girl playing with play-doh

ARTKIDS was an exciting and creative partnership project between Penrith City Council’s Children’s Services and Community and Cultural Development Departments.

As part of implementing the curriculum goals within the Early Years Learning Framework, staff in several children’s centres identified that providing opportunities for children to explore their creativity would contribute to their cognitive development and artistic literacy.

Through our joint discussions we explored the possibilities that art can offer children and pooled resources to employ two local professional artists to take the children on this journey of creating and exploring art. The project took place over eight weeks during August and September 2011 and involved workshops with children aged three to five years in four Council centres - Cook Parade, Gumbirra, Koala Corner and St Marys Children’s Centre, as well as North St Marys Community Preschool.

A variety of art media were explored from clay work to painting, wool sculpture, drawing and print making. Each child had the opportunity to make art pieces and in some instances take those pieces through a two stage process. For example many children were surprised that the clay became hard when it dried and enjoyed painting their creations to add colour to what they had made.

The artists encouraged the children to explore their creativity through different media.The children enjoyed the fun in this project and surprised us all with their enthusiasm, joy and willingness to explore new media in their creative expression. Many children looked forward to their mornings with the artists Chris Edwards and Fabri Blacklock, and David Cloran the photographer and the wonderful conversations about the art they created, highlighting the success of ARTKIDS.

The ARTKIDS project demonstrates to us that children can produce art that is real and has meaning for them. They are capable of great creativity and we hope to continue to inspire children in Penrith City to produce wonderful art for all to enjoy. The many works produced by the children were exhibited at St Marys Corner Community and Cultural Precinct, in individual children’s centres and at Penrith Library.

QSRT 2012 - Queen Street of Hearts

Queen Street is the main street of the St Marys Town Centre in the Penrith Local Government Area in outer Western Sydney.

Previously known as Windsor Road and later Station Street, this street was re-named after Queen Victoria in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Throughout the history of St Marys, Queen Street has always served as a main boulevard reflecting a unique sense of place.

Queen Street reflects the best of traditional main streets in Western Sydney. It offers a uniquely imaginative narrative of the past while depicting the present. It reveals the unique make-up of St Marys and the identity of its communities by presenting a mixture of images filled with rich social and cultural expressions: casual neighbourhood connections, transport and trade, food and cuisine, diverse multicultural restaurants and shops, rural and urban heritage, festivals and cultural celebrations.

Queen Street Riches and Textures explores opportunities for community engagement in re-discovering, documenting, creatively expressing and interpreting the street’s past, present and future. The project’s approach is one of creative collaborations, social connection and conversations, between artists and community and people and places.

The project engages with people of all ages, neighbours, businesses, restaurant owners, and surrounding social and other services to respond to some simple questions: What does Queen Street mean to you? What is its importance and character? What are the personal and collective memories connected to the street? What is Queen Street going to look like in the future?

Developed through collaboration between contemporary artists and the community, Queen Street Riches and Textures examines the socio-cultural dynamics of the St Marys Town Centre. It explores the multiple dimensions of social life in an interactive and visual way using the medium of photography and public presentations.

Queen Street Riches and Textures has multiple objectives. It serves as a platform for conversation and dialogue, community engagement and interaction, mentorship, growth in the skills of the participating artists, and the presentation of new work by these artists.

Queen Street Riches and Textures 2012 has also been developed in collaboration between contemporary artists and the commercial centre of St Marys. This year we invited professional photographer John Slaytor to mentor a group of students from the Nepean Arts and Design Centre TAFE NSW-Western Sydney Institute and Caroline Chisholm College and develop the photojournalistic work that comprises Queen Street Riches and Textures 2012.

The Queen Street Riches and Textures project was born from the aspiration to explore the connections, uniqueness and vibrancy of the main street of St Marys through the eyes of the artist. We wanted to express the human face of Queen Street, which is far more than just a place to shop, it is a community!

By forming creative partnerships and engaging mentor John Slaytor, a renowned photographic artist, six creative young photographers took the opportunity to experience and develop a range of technical skills in photography. The camera acts as a silent observer facilitating a connection with the everyday, capturing the personal interaction, the conversations, the shared knowledge and friendship between retailers and customer. Only a main street such as Queen Street can offer these opportunities.

Download the Queen Street Riches and Textures 2012 Catalogue (pdf 2.6mb)

Adnan Begic and Karen Harris
Cultural Development Team
Penrith City Council

A lady holding two clay pots

Clay at the Corner was an annual project established in 2011 by the Cultural Development Team at Penrith City Council in collaboration with Nepean Potters Society.

The program aimed to provide opportunity to the local potters to showcase their new body of work, present various creative and educational workshops to local community and wider audience.

Since 1976, The Nepean Potters Society has and still provides a significant support network for local and regional Potters. This highly skilled and engaging group investigates their unique creativity through the use of clay, using both specialised traditional methods and the exploration of new techniques.

Clay at the Corner is an exciting exhibition by the Nepean Potters Society, a public display of hand crafted pottery from thirteen artisans that share their passion for clay. The exhibition features fantastic pieces that are the result of the potters’ craftsmanship. All of the artworks have been produced and fired here at the St Marys Corner Arts and Craft Studio. This studio is an important hub at the precinct as it provides the community an avenue for social and artistic expression and the way of sharing creative skills and knowledge.

These artworks together with a digital screen presentation have been be exhibited at three council’s facilities throughout April 2011, at the Arts and Craft Studios and Memorial Hall at St Marys Corner and later in the month in Penrith Council Civic Centre’s foyer.

We congratulate all the potters participating in Clay at the Corner 2011 exhibition on the high quality of their artworks and their contribution to creating a vibrant City.