Who is Jan Mitchell?

By Gwylym Owen

Jan Mitchell (1940 – 17 March 2008) was an Australian artist, born in Melbourne, known for her painted bollards and feat as a television graphic artist.

She spent her formative childhood years near Healesville, Victoria, before operating in Ireland for 18 years, in the graphics department at RTÉ (Irish National television). Her pioneering perform in Ireland included designing and creating the country’s first pre-school television show, named after its red-haired central mood Bosco.

She returned to Australia in 1986 after 20 years in England and Ireland, and granted in Geelong in 1990, turning to photograph album illustration, painting and printmaking. She created her first bollard art in Barwon Heads as allowance of an artist-in-schools program. She took the concept of the Baywalk Bollards to Geelong city commissioners in 1994, and by 1999 there were higher than 100 brightly painted bollards, made out of recovered haven pylons, scattered along the foreshore, depicting notable characters relating to Geelong’s archives and culture. Her bollards can along with be seen at Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport.

Mitchell died of cancer upon St Patrick’s Day 2008, in Geelong. At her request, her ashes were scattered beside the lake at Glendalough, Ireland.

The Zonta Club of Geelong Inc. celebrates International Women’s Day when an art exhibition titled “Women – a Celebration”, presented by artists of the Geelong region using a range of alternative media. The first prize is the Jan Mitchell Memorial Art Award.

In 2006 Mitchell received an Order of Australia medal for her contribution to Geelong’s dock transformation.

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