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By Derek Schlennstedt

A group of local artists in Lilydale are making playful invitations to community members and those driving through to participate more in the township.
Throughout September and October The Lilllydale Alternative Welcoming Society (LAWS) will create unique experiences in the public spaces of Lilydale that surprise, delight and invite.
The entire project is united in a vision, which is reflected in the title of the project, ‘Welcome to Lilllydale’ the triple L standing for: you laugh, you love and you live.
Though, the three Ls also represent a union of the town of Lilydale with the old Shire of Lillydale, which after a century of grammatical estrangement, was time to reunite the region.
Kate Baker, an artist who is part of LAWS, said the project focused on creating an inviting environment within Lilydale which was often overlooked due to its vicinity to the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley.
“Many people see Lilydale as a gateway to the Dandenong Ranges and YarraValley,” Kate said.
“So we asked ourselves why can’t Lilydale be a great connecting place to other connecting places in the Yarra Valley.”
Every year, around four million cars pass through Lilydale.
The idea for the project was to get some of those four million cars to stop and recognise that there is the opportunity for activities and more in Lilydale and for residents to celebrate their suburb.
To do that, the artists have explored the cultural identity of the township and delivered five distinct public artworks.
“We felt there should be an opportunity to say hey to those four million cars driving past, and that there is something here and that there is a lot more here than you know about, because it’s a great place,” Kate said.
The artworks include vinyl stickers on Main Street footpaths that invited the community to visit a special spot in Lilydale, act out an action in the street, or notice the hidden stories and personalities of the town.
Also included are three new road signs on Main Street median strip, proclaiming ‘Welcome to Lilydale’, a temporary hot air balloon affixed with a large sign welcoming visitors to the town who catch the train, and a smartphone app that invites people on a tour by searching for hidden welcoming messages.
“There are so many things about Lilydale that can and should be noticed,” Kate said.
For more information about the project, visit http://laws.how/

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