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lachlan culture & arts
An arts program to promote well-being and create a welcoming, vibrant place for the Forbes and Parkes communities withing their new hospitals

In 2015 the Parkes Hospital and the Forbes Hospital were extensively redeveloped.

NSW Health Infrastructure engaged Arts OutWest to integrate culture and arts into the Forbes and Parkes Hospital redevelopments. The Lachlan Health Service Project includes the $72.5M redevelopment of a new Parkes Hospital and the $40.9M refurbishment of Forbes Hospital.

A  Culture and Arts Working Group was established. This group included representation from the Lachlan Health Service Project team, Arts OutWest, the Lachlan Health Council and health staff.

The Culture and Arts Working Group was responsible for implementing a flexible and sustainable program that promotes well-being and creates a welcoming, vibrant place for the Forbes and Parkes communities.

Following consultations with the community Arts OutWest coordinated individual arts projects and cultural initiatives on behalf LHS Culture and Arts Working Group.

The Culture and Arts Working Group meet every month. (L to R: Dan Herbert, Tracy Callinan, Susann Taylor, Deborah Hunter, Liz Mitchell, Christine McMillan, Annie Dwyer, Malcolm Stacey, Clancy Mears. Absent: Amanda Corcoran)

Currently: While there is no specific ongoing funding for this program Arts OutWest continues to coordinate the visual art collections at the two hospitals.

Activities in this project
Siloscopes: The Artist and the Farmer

Contemporary artists lived with a Forbes farmer for a week to gather ideas for the major piece of public art outside Forbes Hospital.

Siloscopes was commissionedas part of the hospital’s redevelopment in 2016.

In designing the sculpture the artists, Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline, were asked to spend four days living and working with a Forbes farmer learning about the tools, challenges and experience of life on the land.

Read more here

Nature inspired art workshops

2016: The uplifting and nurturing power of nature was the inspiration for artworks created for the new Parkes Hospital. The artworks were made by locals over a series of six free workshops at Parkes Library, May-June 2016.

Called ‘Through the Looking Glass – Reflections on Nature’ the fortnightly workshops started with participants sketching and photographing imagery and ideas sourced from and inspired by the natural environment. They then developed these into drawings and paintings.

“Meeting with the nurses on the maternity wing at the Parkes Hospital gave both Christine McMillan and myself an insight into their artistic preferences and I designed the workshop from their comments wanting art for their patients,” Maralyn Nash said.


The 12 workshop participants sketched and photographed plants, flowers and scenery then developed these into a series of completed art works. Workshops included outdoor excursions to bushy parkland areas around Parkes. Participants experimented with watercolour and acrylic paints and adding collage papers and fibres to pastel and charcoal drawings.

The experience was relished by the participants.  “It felt like a release to start drawing without having to prove anything,”’ said one participant. “I find nature so healing to draw,” said another.

All participants were highly motivated to do their best work and felt very proud of the potential legacy for their soon to be displayed art works at the Parkes Hospital for both future patients and generations of their families,” Ms Nash said.

One artwork from each participant was then gifted to the maternity section of the hospital after the workshops. A number of works were also developed into printed decals for installation in the hospital.

Forbes kids make healthy art

June 2016. Primary school kids in Forbes used their artistic skills to help the community think more about healthy food.

Selected students from kindergarten to year six in Forbes joined Orange-based artist Heather Pike in four weekly art workshops. The students will make a series of artworks linked to the Forbes Food Revolution program and to feature on the walls at the new Forbes Hospital.

Artist Heather Pike helped the students to make artworks inspired by their own connections to food, including their likes and dislikes

“Healthy food habits start young and art making is a great way for children to have conversations about the food they eat and like,” Arts OutWest Arts and Health Coordinator Christine McMillan said. “The artworks by the children in the hospital will also be a constant, positive reminder to the community of healthy food habits.”

Heather Pike & Maya Clarke. Photo Kim Storey – Aviland Photography

The student’s completed artworks went then into a two-week long exhibition at the Platypus Gallery in Forbes. Students then donated one of their works to the Forbes Hospital where it is now a part of the hospital’s art collection.

In Print in Forbes

2016: The free ‘In Print Forbes’ workshops, held in Forbes, were a chance for people to learn from expert printmaker Victoria Tuson. Victoria Tuson led participants through the printmaking process and help them produce a complete artwork of their own.

The workshops generated new artworks for the Forbes Hospital’s art collection, adding to the positive experience of patients, staff and visitors.

Bathurst-based Victoria Tuson is an ‘editioning printmaker’ – she works with artists to make prints of their works. A graduate of UNSW’s College of Fine Arts, Ms Tuson has over 17 years’ experience and has printed for artists including Charles Blackman, David Boyd, Judy Cassab, Adam Cullen, Amanda Upton and Margaret Woodward.

At the conclusion of the workshop the participants were asked to donate a print to the Forbes Hospital collection.

Local art exhibition at the new Parkes Hospital

2016. Paintings, photographs and other artworks by Parkes locals were exhibited in the brand new Parkes Hospital.

“The exhibition focuses on work that is colourful, restful and/or uplifting,” said Arts OutWest Arts and Health Coordinator Christine McMillan. “Art work in a hospital introduces a distraction, brightens the corridors and creates a welcoming environment.”


Arts & Health Coordinator Christine McMillan hanging works for the exhibition at Parkes Hospital.

Lachlan Health Service Manager, Liz Mitchell enjoyed seeing the facility brought to life with the artwork from local artists.

“It’s fabulous to have new equipment and facilities, but the Parkes Hospital redevelopment is also about making the hospital a more vibrant and friendly place for all our communities and integrating the arts is a great way of achieving this,” said Ms Mitchell.

The 40 artworks on display included mixed media collage, photography, watercolours and pastels, pen and ink works, and paintings in oils and acrylics. Many of the images depict local landscapes, local identities, favourite holiday destinations of the artists, flowers and wildlife.

Nine year old Jesse Woods has three artworks in the exhibition and is the youngest artist represented. Other Parkes artists involved are Kathryn Lewis, Margaret Lewis, Kim Chambers, Josh Cornelissen-Birch, Wendy Hawthorn, Elsie Mahon, Karen Ritchie, Robyn Morrissey, Bronwyn Riley, Heather Moss, Brett Preisig, Mel Flyte and Joanne Strom.

Nature Art Workshop at Parkes Hospital

2016: Parkes Hospital hosted an exhibition of vibrant new artworks created by 12 local artists alongside works from Parkes Shire Council’s art collection.

‘Through the Looking Glass’ was an exhibition by 12 Parkes artists of new artworks created during a series of weekly workshops. The workshops, led by Maralyn Nash, took inspiration from the natural environment. The new artworks feature botanical and landscape images and have been made with the needs of hospital patients, visitors and staff in mind.

The works in watercolour, acrylic, collage, pastel and charcoal “reflect imagery that is uplifting, nurturing, light and colourful to create an oasis of calm for people during their hospital experience,” workshop leader Maralyn Nash said.

“We hope patients connect with the outside world by viewing artworks inspired by nature and our local environment; and for them to feel less like they are in a ‘twilight zone’ while in hospital,” Ms Nash said.

Local art exhibition at new Forbes Hospital

2016. The Forbes first exhibition was been installed in the corridors of the Forbes Hospital.

Rosalie Burns and Christine McMillan hanging Karen Ritchie’s Forbes Wetlands in the corridor at Forbes hospital.

14 local artists were represented.  Thirty artworks went on display. A broad range of mediums are used in the works, including pastels, water colour, acrylic, mixed media, oils and wax and ink. Many of the images are inspired by the Forbes landscape, from historical buildings to the rural Forbes canola season. Wattle flowers to deciduous leaves represent the broad species range of plants in the area.

Karen Ritchie, who has three pieces in the exhibition, said Forbes wetlands provides a perfect backdrop to explore, in colour and line, the movement and fleetingness of water.

“No two views are the same as colour and shape and shadows are reliant on landform and objects surrounding the body of water. Acrylics and ink provide a fluid consistency to try and replicate the nature of water, while the trees provide an illusion of solidity,” Ms Ritchie said.

Images above: Exhibition at the hospital. Photos: Kim Storey

A flexible and sustainable program that promotes well-being and creates a welcoming, vibrant place in the new hospitals for the Forbes and Parkes communities.

Location: Forbes and Parkes

When: 2015-2017

Funded by: NSW Health Infrastructure

Coordinated by: Christine McMillan, Arts OutWest arts and health coordinator with Rob Burns

Workshop facilitators: Marilyn Nash, Heather Pike, Victoria Tuson

Photo credits: Kim Storey; Jay-Lee Zagrovic.

Main image: Rosalie Burns and Christine McMillan hanging Karen Ritchie’s Forbes Wetlands in the corridor at Forbes hospital.