· By tara strong

Anthony Breslin’s Community Art Garden and Gallery

 This colourful, thriving community space where people come to socialise, feed their love of growing in the large garden beds and enjoy the art can be found at the Uniting Church in Murrumbeena. It is the wonderful result of a large-scale community project in 2015, which took place over 8 months to complete under Anthony’s guidance. 


In a recent conversation Anthony shared how the project came into fruition:

“There was community garden already at the church, and as I was working with Yooralla and they were involved with the church at the time, the subject of the garden came up and I was approached to do something with the garden space.

I found this idea so exciting, it gave me the opportunity to work bringing art and colour to a great space and to bring my concept for the Totem Poles to life, whilst providing an opportunity for community to join together and make art.

The funding came together when Dennis Tarrant the CEO of Bendigo Bank came to ‘Inside Your Head’, an event I held over a weekend at the Breslin Gallery on Neerim Rd in Carnegie, which incorporated performers from diverse groups such as Yooralla and that are active in the mental health space.

At the event he shared with me Bendigo Bank’s desire to sponsor an art project of mine, so when I told him about the Community Garden Art project he agreed on the spot that Bendigo Bank should be involved.

The Glen Eira Artists society became my main artist crew support and we all pitched in, including 3 local schools, members of the community, residents in nursing homes in the area and Yooralla who created approximately 200 paintings on tiles that were installed on the back wall of the garden.

I also wanted to do something that used the aerial space, so the concept for the Totem Poles was born. Using repurposed found and everyday materials, the posts are approximately 3.5m high and spin with the wind, so they can rotate to show both sides of the head.

My  artist crew worked hard to help me to bring the concept to reality, and a weekly bus would arrive from different support organisations who were given the role of painting the totem poles. I got so much joy from seeing how much happiness everyone involved experienced from creating.”


Project Summary

Year created: 2015

Length: 8-9 months

Dimensions: 40m back wall (tiles) / Church hall wall 60mtrs (panels)/ Garden area 100sqm approx. (Totem Poles) 

Number of paintings/ artworks included: 250 tiles / 5 Totems /  5-6 large mural works

Organisations involved:

Bendigo Bank, City of Glen Eira, Glen Eira Artists Society, Murrumbeena Uniting Church, Yooralla, Carnegie and St Anthony’s Primary Schools, Carnegie Kindergarten, Rosstown Community Centre and Caulfield Rotary Club.


 Images courtesy of Kate BIrrell (www.katebirrell.com)