“BODY OF WORK” Mental Health Art Exhibition To Launch In Newcastle

Wed Jun 20, 2018

Hunter Street Wellbeing Centre is opening its doors for the first time, inviting the general public to view an art exhibition with works from artists who live with mental health issues.

The Flourish Australia ‘Body of Work’ exhibition will see some 100 works from more than 30 Hunter artists displayed, showcasing artistic talent and giving the public dynamic and unique visual insights into what living with mental health issues may be like.

The works include paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs which have been in the making for the past twelve months.

The exhibition has been made possible by Flourish Australia’s ArtReach program which offers professional art tuition from a fully-equipped therapeutic studio at Flourish Australia’s Newcastle Hunter Street Wellbeing Centre. A mobile outreach support vehicle also runs from the centre, enabling art as therapy classes to reach people in their homes and other community settings.

“Art is recognised as an invaluable form of recovery-oriented therapy for people who live with mental health issues.” Flourish Australia exhibition coordinator Carole Gant said.

“It provides avenues of expression, a sense of purpose, achievement and it’s a wonderful social outlet that helps people connect with others in the community.

“All of these things are vital for people who experience the challenges associated with mental health issues.

“There is a true wow factor behind many of the works that have been produced for this exhibition and we invite the community to have a look and meet our proud artists.”

Ms Gant added that most of the works would be offered for sale to the public, providing scope for the participating artists to be rewarded financially for their efforts.

Participating artist Daryl Soo said the art program and exhibition was a tremendous experience.

“We’re effectively putting ourselves and parts of our complex stories out into the community through art,” Mr Soo said.

“I’m a father of two who lives with bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression.

“Art is a definite healing therapy and part of my recovery. It’s helped me control my mental state and my concentration levels.”

“It adds a dimension of meaning to life, makes me feel empowered and gives me strength to help others who are worse off than me. It’s not just about art – it’s about giving others a belief in themselves to be creative.

“My self-confidence and abilities as an artist have gone to new levels since I got involved with the studio at Flourish Australia.”

The exhibition will launch on Friday 29 June, with most works to remain on display until September.

Flourish Australia said that one in two people would have a lived experience of a mental health issue during their life, and one in four at any given time of their life.

Members of the public visiting the Body of Work exhibition have an opportunity to learn more about community mental health support offered through Flourish Australia’s Hunter Street Wellbeing Centre, including individual support, cooking, music, fitness and a range of other recovery-oriented activities and services.

Flourish Australia Hunter area was one of the first areas to trial the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and is one of Australia’s leading NDIS support providers.

Flourish Australia is a not-for-profit organisation providing support programs, employment, accommodation and hope for about 5,000 people with mental health issues in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a leading mental health support provider that has been in operation for 60 years.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Media outlets are invited to join Body of Work exhibition artists as final touches are made to multiple works to be exhibited. Picture and interview opportunities available.

WHEN: 10.30am, Wednesday 20 June

WHERE Flourish Australia Headquarters, 627 Hunter Street, Newcastle

Media outlets are also invited to attend the Body of Work exhibition launch, at 627 Hunter Street on Friday 29 June (5.00pm-7.00pm)

Media enquiries
Matthew Watson - 0417 691 884