Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Bollards creator

from w
I was surprised and sad this week to read of the death of the creator of the Geelong bollards, sculptures that are scattered along the waterfront of historical characters and create a lot of interest for visitors to the region. Jan Mitchell used the wooden bollards from a disused pier to create amazing sculptures.

Geelong bollard icon dies
Adapted from story by Danny Lannen 18Mar08
GEELONG'S bollard lady Jan Mitchell has died after a short battle with cancer. The creative artistic force was 68. She leaves a distinctive legacy in her adopted city after having created more than 100 sculptured and painted bollards lining Geelong's waterfront. Mrs Mitchell received an Order of Australia medal for her contribution to the waterfront transformation.

Roger Grant said. ``Jan used to get angry when people said Geelong was an industrial town with no culture and the history of Geelong very much captured through Jan was one which was in fact sophisticated in arts, or innovation, or through its public gardens. There was a real feeling that Geelong was a go-getting place, Jan certainly captured that.''

Jan Mitchell started creating the series of 111 figures with the help of wood carver Pieter Roos and artist John Starr in 1995 and finished about 1999. Bollards pointing to her waterfront parade are in Geelong Botanic Gardens and at Melbourne and Avalon airports.

From the local Arts Community Bulletin:

Vale: Jan Mitchell

The Arts and Culture Department sadly acknowledges the passing of Jan Mitchell, the artist who created the Baywalk Bollards. Jan passed away on 17 March 2008. After a period working as a graphic designer in the British television industry Jan returned to Australia in 1984 to continue her career as a designer, illustrator and print maker. Few artists can claim to have had such a strong influence in their city as Jan Mitchell with her unique artistic style leading to the development of Geelong's bollards. The concept for the bollards emerged when she led an 'Artists in Schools' program in Barwon Heads and approached the City of Greater Geelong with an idea to document the history of Geelong through a series of bollards that would populate the waterfront. Jan Mitchell was a dynamic and passionate advocate for the Geelong region and the Baywalk Bollards will remain as a fitting memorial to her vision for the city she loved so much. Jan Mitchell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in June 2006. She will be sadly missed in the arts community.

Pictures of some of the bollards can be found on this website.

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