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program overview
About Virtual Art Snacks

Virtual Art Snacks trains rural artists and health workers to deliver a program of short, sequential cross-artform activities to residents and carers in aged care. The project is a piece of action research, trialing and assessing different creative online experiences, plus six face-to-face residencies.

There are 25 Multi Purpose Health Services (small rural hospitals) in the Western NSW Local Health District, 13 MPSs chose to participate in this program.

Aged-care residents as well as day-care users and temporary hospital patients are all wanting activities that keep them occupied and respect their need to stay connected and culturally engaged. Staff are also keen to find effective ways of making their environments positive places to be. The health users of the MPS facilities have partners and carers who want to find common ground to discuss and share. Virtual Arts Snacks provides this engagement to all of these people in each of the regional communities.

This program not only trained and employs local artists, it worked with Health’s Activities Officers to ensure that they know how to continue supporting this work. It ensures that carers and partners living in the home can also participate in the program. Using technology opens up these small communities to being part of a cutting-edge arts project that can be a world leader. These factors all contribute to healthier, more confident regional communities able to benefit from arts-led recovery.

Our pilot program in Oberon (2018-2019) showed that community confidence is such that community-based groups have taken on the responsibility for fundraising in order to continue and embed an arts-based program in their MPS and have increased their volunteer participation in the program.

Funding source
The Australian Government through a Regional Arts Fund Renewal Grant $119,000 with some top up (for staffing) from the NSW Government’s Restart fund.

Project Delivery:
Arts Out West, rural artists and health workers.

Arts Out West and Western NSW Local Health District MPSs in a cross-regional art and health collaboration and Charles Sturt University. Delivered across the WNSWLDH with the support of Outback Arts and Orana Arts.

Research partners:
Charles Sturt University , University of Sydney Rural Clinical School

Delivered over three years – 2021-2024

Delivery Mode:
Online and some face-face

Multi-Purpose Services participating: Dunedoo, Oberon, Warren, Barradine, Nyngan, Blayney, Coolah, Grenfell, Molong, Eugowra, Coonamble, Bourke, Gulgong
Stats at March 2024

17 artist training sessions

10 artists employed across music, visual art, performance, storytelling and puppet making

455 participants

105 virtual sessions

22 face-to-face

13 Multi-Purpose Services: Barradine, Blayney, Coolah, Coonamble, Dunedoo, Eugowra, Grenfell, Gulgong, Oberon, Molong, Nyngan, Rylstone, Warren

A series of interactive creative workshops with professional artists for aged-care residents in rural Multi-Purpose Services

This project was supported by the Australian Government through a Regional Arts Fund Renewal Grant with some top up (for staffing) from the NSW Government’s Restart fund.