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Mural festival decides on 2023 theme

Reigning champion: Mural artist Marco Pennacchia, and his Paint us a Song theme depiction of the song Teardrop. This year’s theme is I Have a Dream.

Hot on the heels of its “best ever” week-long event, Rochester Mural Festival committee has announced the theme for next year’s highly interactive celebration of art.

I Have a Dream will be the title of the 2023 festival, continuing the concept of developing a theme which allows for expanded individual interpretation by the artists.

The 2022 March festival theme, Sing Us a Song, was hailed by long-time committee member Peter Anderson as the “best-ever festival’’, the eight finalists attracting significant attention from within — and outside — the Campaspe Shire to the town.

Mr Anderson said a committee decision was only made in the last week as to the theme for the March 18 to 26, 2023, event.

“We met two weeks ago to discuss the theme. It is an important part of the event and goes a long way to attracting our artists,” he said.

This year’s mural festival was won on two fronts by Italian artist Marco Pennacchia, with his black and white depiction of the song Teardrop.

He won the public vote and the overall award, the 2022 public vote attracting the most patronage in the eight-year history of the festival.

The Italian artist’s domination of the overall and public vote competitions has forced a change to the rules and this year the mural artists will only be able to win one category.

Next year’s launch dinner will be on March 18, with artists completing their works from March 19 to 26.

Mr Anderson said the 2023 theme would again allow for a “broad spectrum” of artwork.

“Last year we received more than 20 entires, which was whittled down to eight,” he said.

“They were eight of the best murals we have ever had.

“I have a dream could be interpreted as anything from a future of world peace to the individual artist’s own dreams.

“We feel as though artists could portray their wishes for the future in art form.”

Every year the committee seeks the opinion of festival participants as to what the next mural theme should be.

“We had 50 ideas thrown at us by the public, and mural artists,” Mr Anderson said.

What lies beneath, the annual contribution for consideration by Mr Anderson’s wife — and co-organiser — Judy made the top three this year.

The third title, which made it to the final cut before the decision, was Through a Child’s Eyes.