Children suffering from domestic violence will have a more colourful and fun environment after local artist Simone Read and student Nicole Francia painted murals at the Lisa Harnum Foundation Shelter for Women in the Hills.
Simone told Sydney Hills Living that founder of the Lisa Harnum Foundation, Aileen Mountfield, contacted her with a request for help.
“It really started from a Facebook feed — Aileen Mountfield had expressed that she was looking for an artist to paint a mural in the children’s area of the women’s shelter, and I instantly decided I wanted to do it,” said Simone, who is also a Visual Arts teacher at Castle Hill High School. “I had a student in mind to help me — Nicole Francia, one of my Year 12 students.”
The project for the Lisa Harnum Foundation involved painting the wall panels of the children’s area of the shelter to enhance its friendly ambience.
“There were about a dozen panels, and we came up with the idea of painting Dr Seuss characters and quotes, because they’re so colourful and fun, and perfect for brightening up the whole area,” explained Simone.

“We painted it all over a weekend because there were children staying at the centre the next week. We spent about 10 hours on the Saturday and about 15 hours on the Sunday.
“We used water-based acrylic paint. The walls were like a blank canvas, and away we went. We didn’t have a layout or overall design — we just started at opposite ends and met in the middle!”
The final result is a striking mural of colourful characters and sayings that will undoubtedly engage and delight children staying at the shelter. According to Simone, Aileen Mountfield’s emotional thanks were more than enough reward for both Simone and Nicole.
Simone and Nicole have worked together previously on a community project, said Simone. ☐