The search for the face of Queanbeyan is over, with the title going to Canberra Raiders coach and proud Queanbeyan man Ricky Stuart.
The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council announced on Friday (22 March) that Stuart’s face is set to be immortalised through a large-scale portrait mural in the heart of the CBD, beating over 40 other nominations from the community.
In December last year, the council called on the community to nominate people they thought were worthy of being represented in Queanbeyan’s significant public art project.
Program Coordinator Tracey Lamont said Stuart beat the other nominations with the help of a submission by a local and his work off the footy field.
“Some of Queanbeyan’s historical figures that were nominated have great stories, but given the age and lack of detail in the images available, they would be difficult for the artist to paint,” Ms Lamont said.
“Ricky is obviously well known for his exploits on the football field and as a coach. The story submitted by Dimitri Hantas as part of the nomination highlights that there is more to Ricky’s life than just football and that community is something close to his heart.”
In his submission, Dimitri Hantas said that his personal admiration for Ricky Stuart has roots in his own family history.
“Ricky was born in Queanbeyan in January 1967, the same year that my father decided to migrate from Greece and make Queanbeyan home for our family,” he said.
“We have watched Ricky’s career over the years, and his sporting exploits have brought many happy memories to our family.
“Today as a parent, I have further admiration for Ricky who I have seen champion the cause for children with autism and devote his personal time and influence to set up respite centres to support children and teenagers with autism.”
The mural, which is funded by the Federal Government’s Building Better Region’s Fund, will be designed by artist and designer Claire Foxton and will commence on 5 April.
“I’m pleased to be working on the mural for Queanbeyan, helping to brighten and transform the Queanbeyan CBD,” Ms Foxton said.
“I’m even more pleased that the project also involves an element of mentoring local art students from both Queanbeyan high schools who hopefully one day get some of the same opportunities I’ve worked hard for.
“I think it is fantastic the way Ricky is able to use his high profile to benefit the broader community through his work in setting up the foundation that has developed two respite centres so far and is looking to develop another one in his hometown of Queanbeyan in the future.”