07 August 2014

Coloured paint and paintbrush on canvasThe budding artistic skills of 10 local people will be on display as part of the prestigious South Australian Living Artists festival at an exhibition to be held at the Middleback Theatre later this month.

The group is taking part in an eight-week program aimed at promoting wellbeing through participation in the arts.

“Expressions - Arts in Mental Health” is being run by the University of South Australia’s Whyalla campus and Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide. It is funded by Country North SA Medicare Local’s Partners in Recovery program and supported by Country Health SA and Country Arts SA.

UniSA and Country Health SA mental health academic, Lee Martinez says the program is a great regional collaboration.

“The expressions arts and mental health program provides an opportunity for people to come together and participate in an activity with purpose, that builds the participants wellness, their ability to connect, express and participate in society,” she said.

Partners in Recovery manager Zieco Skeldon, who is based in Whyalla, said being involved in art could help people on the road to recovery from mental illness by creating an opportunity for social inclusion and boosting their self-confidence.

“Art can be a wonderful tool because not only do people have the chance to interact with others and feel connected but they are also learning new skills and discovering a positive way of expressing themselves,” he said.

Whyalla artist Dianne Turner is leading the weekly workshops at the Whyalla Art Group premises.

It is hoped that once they have completed the program, the participants will feel comfortable within that environment and will consider becoming members of the art group and will continue to produce art.

The Expressions program is in line with the National Framework on Arts and Health, which supports and recognises the role of art in improving health and wellbeing and has been endorsed by State and Federal health and arts ministers.

The exhibition will be held on Friday August 22 at 7pm, with an official opening by Country Arts SA director of community engagement, Anthony Peluso. The exhibition and launch is open to members of the public.

The exhibition will on display at Middleback Theatre for a couple of weeks following the opening.

 Contact for interviews: Lee Martinez 0408 894 942

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: +61 8 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au



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