If only the walls could talk. Arts Rutherglen has taken a creative approach to highlighting the history of former businesses in the town’s historic main street.
Irena Webster, Treasurer of Arts Rutherglen says Portals Into Rutherglen is a combination of history and contemporary art.
“The idea is to look at the history of a building and research the previous usage of that building and then have some sort of pictorial representation for one aspect of the building,” Irena said.
The first ‘Portal’ has been revealed, featuring Archibald Gordon Aitken, who established Aitken and Fullerton Grocers in the prominent building now occupied by Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre.
Chiltern artist Kirrily Anderson was commissioned to research and create the artwork that was revealed do the public at an official launch last night (27 September).
“The concept was to get a street artist, someone doing some funky type of artwork and paint it in a contemporary style,” Irena said.
David smith, the grand-son of one of the former partners in the business (Percy Fullerton), travelled from Darwin for the official opening and to share his memories.
“My grandfather had the last horse drawn delivery service in Australia, as far as I am aware,” David said.
“l used to go around with him to help deliver the groceries when I was about 6 or 7 years old. The building is the same – the interior might have changed a bit, but everything is still as it was.”
Nadine Simpson from Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre says it’s hoped a series of similar ‘portals’ in other historic building windows will add to the town’s tourism appeal.
“This is our answer to painted silos,” Nadine said.
“We think this is a good alternative and talks of the history of our area and what these shops were. A lot of them date back to the 1800’s, so it’s good to see the buildings still standing and that they’ve been preserved and we’re embracing the history of what Rutherglen is all about.”