Auburn Youth Centre has promoted self-expression and encouraged youth to make use of creative outlets to do so. In August of 1987, the Auburn Youth Resource Centre provided an opportunity for young people to display their artwork on the walls of a local milkbar – given that the art depicted young people or life in Auburn.
It has consistently advocated that there is need for youth self-expression, and suitable outlets for this. In May 1988, an article was published in the Auburn Review detailing the ‘self-expression’ of two youths via graffiti. The community response was to increase police patrols and treat walls with ‘graffiti-off’ paint, to prevent the defacing of properties in the future. Lee-Ann Rugiero and Tony Diquattrio from the Auburn Youth Resource Centre explained that it was necessary to examine the causes of youth graffiti – rather than shun youth ‘we should encourage self-expression among our youth’, they wrote. They urged the council to support proposals for community murals which can serve as a suitable outlet for youth expression. They also offered to coordinate such projects. In Youth Week 1994, well-known aerosol artist Matthew Peet helped coordinate the AYRC initiative to paint a mural in the Auburn shopping arcade. It showed the multicultural mix of Auburn youth and the activities they enjoy. AYRC worker Hilary Williams explained that it was a legal, controlled environment for expression, which would benefit the youth.
The Auburn Youth Centre again designed a mural to be painted at Auburn Railway Station in 1999 as part of that year’s Youth Week Activities.
The AYRC also hosted comic book workshop in 1997, which was yet another opportunity for youth to express themselves creatively. Their works were displayed in a compiled comic book at the Artstart Youth Arts and Skills Festival.
In 1999, the AYC ran a contemporary arts project in conjunction with Minda juvenile detention centre. Young people got to design mosaic tiles based on traditional aboriginal art designs with the assistance of aboriginal artist Greg Weatherby. Their works were displayed in Youth Arts Gallery ‘thumbprint’ exhibition at Parramatta Heritage Centre.
Turn it up
Auburn Youth Centre extended its offer for artistic self-expression to the performing arts. In 1991, AYRC had a musician-in-residence to run workshops teaching the writing and composition of dance music. The program ran for six weeks and was very popular.
Perhaps the most successful artistic venture was the annual ‘Turn It Up’ talent quest, started in 1994. It encouraged local talent, and gave youth an opportunity to perform and showcase their skills in front of a large audience, with the annual talent quests drawing in crowds of several hundred spectators. AYC Youth Worker Hilary Williams explained: ‘we want to encourage young people to develop their skills and pursue careers in the music business’.
 Auburn Review, August 12, 1987, p. 5.
 Auburn Review, May 18, 1988, p. 1.
 Auburn Review, June 9, 1988, P. 6.
 Auburn Review, June 1, 1994, p. 1.
 Auburn Review, April 28, 1999, p. 2.
 Auburn Review, August 13, p. 3.
 Auburn Review, August 4, 1999, p. 10.
 Auburn Review, January 23, 1991, p. 3.
 Auburn Review, July 31, 1996, p. 10.
 Auburn Review, June 19, 1996, p. 10.