INSPIRING: Russell Plunkett decided to the Interim Arts initiative to a whole new level, creating a shop to spread positive messages and a love of the Australian bush.
INSPIRING: Russell Plunkett decided to the Interim Arts initiative to a whole new level, creating a shop to spread positive messages and a love of the Australian bush. Felicity Ripper

Poet inspires public through shop window initiative

A PROJECT aimed at beautifying the streets and connecting artists with the North Burnett community has seen shopfronts across the region livened with local artists' displays.

And, after being invited to display his work in an Eidsvold's shopfront, poet Russell Plunkett liked the initiative so much he decided to lease the entire shop for his creative work.

"I'm a messenger using poetry to communicate, and that message has to be presented well,” Mr Plunkett said.

"When I came to set up my display in the shop window I saw it was in such a prime position, and I like the discipline that comes from having a dedicated workspace rather than just working at home.

"I'm a motivational poet so all my words are intended to make passers-by feel that this is a great world we live in.”

Interim Arts was developed by North Burnett Regional Council and delivered by project co-ordinator Rachel Koster.

It aims to entice locals and visitors to the region to stay engaged and utilise the main streets to their full potential.

Displays are already starting to appear in the towns of Biggenden, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Mundubbera, and soon Monto, with great community spirit being shown from shop owners and creatives.

So far photographers, painters, poets, writers and textile artists have registered to participate, and even a pony club.

For Mr Plunkett, going that step further to rent the entire building has allowed him to engage with tourists and inspire his passion in others.

"I'm passionately proud of being Australian, and I'm proud of the bush,” he said.

"This is an awesome land so whatever I do, I take every opportunity to present that.”

Mr Plunkett will use the shop to build a website, and create posters and bookmarks in the hopes that he can make people happier, and steer them away from dark thoughts.

He said people often read a book only once, but if he put his messages on mediums that can be displayed then people will read them over and over.

When Ms Koster got in touch with mr Plunkett to discuss the shop window opportunity, she realised she had been doing just that for years.

"I had sent Rachel some of my work to give her an example, and she picked up one my posters and thought my name was familiar,” Mr Plunkett said.

"So she asked her mum, and that poster had actually been at the back of her grandmother's dunny door for 30 years.”

Mr Plunkett's new shop can be found in the main street of Eidsvold, next to the community library.

Throughout the duration of the 'Interim Arts' initiative, a poster will be placed in participating windows with a contact number for anyone wanting to lease the premises (alongside any other leasing details/real estate signage).

Interested shop owners are encouraged to contact Council's Community Development team on 1300 696 272 (1300 MY NBRC) to find out which artists are wanting to display and vice-versa.

Mt Perry artists are being invited to display in other centres as there is currently no suitable stores in their CBD.

Although not every store owner is able to take part due to pending rentals for their store, repairs being needed and plans to sell, there is a growing amount of business owners taking part.


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