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.
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.
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.