Arts OutWest Arts and Health Coordinator, Christine McMillan, and Oberon Arts Council and current Chair of Arts OutWest Board, Fran Charge, have designed an arts program at Oberon.
At the instigation of Oberon Arts Council member Fran Charge, Arts OutWest was asked to partner with the Oberon Arts Council to present an arts program at the Oberon Multipurpose Service (OMPS). The OMPS manager, Christine Symington was approached in April 2018 to gauge the interest in the development of an arts program for users of the Multipurpose Centre.
An outcome of this meeting was that two pilot programs were presented beginning May 2018. Both on Thursdays one at the residential care unit and the other at the Robey Independant Living Centre.
Throughout these workshops the abilities and interests of the participants have been considered. Individual programs are developed dependent on these interests. The two groups, Independent Living and residents, were combined and everyone gathered around the large table in the dining room. Participants who we usually work with as individuals became part of a group: The Art Group.
Oberon Multipurpose Service
Oberon Arts Council
The Art Group is an Arts Program
This combined group works really well with communication between the participants building a cohesive group with diverse skills and abilities. At lunch time everyone sits down for lunch together. There is talking and laughter over the meal. The combined meal is so important capping off the social event that is The Art Group.
Alex Haslam talked about the advantages of joining groups. If you had suffered from depression the more groups you join the less chance of you having reoccurring bouts of depression. ‘Social isolation is a greater threat to your health than poor lifestyle choices, like smoking and junk food.’ says Alex.
In the pilot program art works were used a starting point for an exploration of different mediums. Firstly, two containers one ceramic and the other glass were looked at and felt. We made art works based on these pots. Mediums that were experimented with: coloured paper, hand made paper, pastels, oil crayons and water colour. Then we borrowed the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery Art in a Suitcase which was used as a starting point for more work. Art in a Suitcase contains a collection of sculptures that can be touched. We revisited the techniques and materials we had initially used and one of the participants began creative writing.
A selection of works was chosen for framing and exhibition.
As the pilot was so successful we began a long term project…
Waiting Room Project
We identified a waiting room area in the hospital that needed to be made into a happy and cheerful place for mothers, young children and people of all ages waiting for community health services. We made bright banners to hang in the space. The room was refurbished and hadn’t been finished so we hung the banners in the sun room.
Painting on materials with silk screen printing ink. Learning how silk screen inks work. Development of two designs with symbols and colours. Changing colours with designs.
One of the participants moved the sewing machine into her room and hemmed the banners. Cards were made using fabric and paint trials.
Follow the link to see the work we are doing at Oberon: The Art Group
The Art Group is an on-going arts program
Arts OutWest would like to thank all staff, participants, their family and friends for supporting this project.
Images: Combined artwork created by participants and the Waiting Room Project. Photos: Christine McMillan / AOW. Video: Carolyn Hide AOW Media Associate.