Susan Greentree is looking forward to the challenge at Rochester Mural Festival

By Anna McGuinness

For Susan Greentree, the Rochester Mural Festival is a chance to unlock the artistic flair within every member of the community.

A lover of art her whole life, Susan said it’s a learnable skill.

“It’s nice to talk to different people and see the kids come down from school, inspire those young people to have a go and take risks,” she said.

“Lots of people say, ‘I can’t even draw a stick figure’ — but it’s just a lack of confidence that comes from youth.

“Even the gifted artists and child prodigies have all learnt and been mentored along the way.”

In Susan’s second year at the festival she is excited for the challenge.

“It’s fun getting together with other artists, to learn from each other and share our knowledge” she said.

Susan has included aspects of the town’s past, present and future in her artwork.

“My design covers the historical background of the area from Yorta Yorta country moving through to colonial history and the dairy and agricultural industry the town is now built upon,” she said.

“And in the present, moving into art with the silos and murals, which are creating new attractions for the town since the factory closed down.”

“Underlying everything is the river, which ties it all together.”

Susan has also cleverly utilised the town’s strategic plan.

“It’s nice to see the community aren’t getting depressed about the factory closure and have thought about ways of moving forward and turning Rochester into a destination for people to come visit.”

Previously a face painter, Susan is used to having eyes on her as she works.

“Painting in front of people isn’t scary or off-putting, it’s fun and you get to interact with the community and help them embrace art,” she said.

As for her chances, Susan is staying practical.

“I’ve got a one in eight chance of winning,” she said.

“We’re all friendly but there’s an underlying competitiveness, as friendly as it is, you hope you win.”