The Manning And Great Lakes “Brushes With Life” Mental Health Month Art Exhibition Comes Of Age

Wed Sep 19, 2018

The Manning’s annual “Brushes with Life” art exhibition is enjoying a well-earned coming of age as it steps up to display at the Manning Regional Art Gallery for Mental Health Month (October) 2018.

A landmark initiative of community based mental health support provider Flourish Australia, the Brushes with Life program involves a series of art workshops that give insight to mental health issues and promote mental wellbeing.

Although most participants are people who have a lived experience of a mental health issue, the program is also open to anyone with in an interest in mental health including relatives and carers and the public.

About 60 participants from across The Manning and The Great Lakes have been spending recent months preparing more than 200 art works at workshops in Taree, Cundletown and Forster.

The works include paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and paper mache pieces and will go on display at the Regional Art Gallery in Taree from Wednesday 10 October to Sunday 14 October.

Flourish Australia Manning and Great Lakes Manager Chris Cassar said it was a thrill to hit the ‘big-time’ of exhibiting at the regional gallery.

“Brushes with Life started six years ago as a loose idea of banding people together to teach and promote art as mental health therapy,” Mr Cassar said.

“It’s got bigger every year and we’ve found ourselves shuffling from different premises on an ad hoc basis to make the exhibition possible.

“Exhibiting at the regional gallery is an enormous breakthrough, a validation that the concept has come of age as a premier annual fixture.”

Flourish Australia Mental Health Worker and Brushes with Life coordinator Carolyn Williams said the program proved that art was a game-changer when it comes to mental health recovery.

“Two big keys to mental wellbeing are participation in meaningful activities and interacting with other people,” Ms Williams said.

“The Brushes with Life initiative offers both in spades. It’s more than just producing art works – it’s a ticket out of the isolation that often goes with mental health issues, an opportunity to mix with and relate to other people.

“It’s also a means of expressive therapy which can break down so many stigmas and misunderstandings around mental health.

“The art works tell so many inspiring stories.”

The exhibition will be launched at 5.30pm on Thursday 11 October at the Manning Regional Art Gallery.

Anyone interested in producing art works or attending the exhibition can contact Carolyn Williams on 9393 9415.

MEDIA PICTURE AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY

Media outlets are invited to shoot exhibition participants working on various pieces, and conduct interviews.

WHEN: Thursday 20 September, 10.30-1.00
WHERE: Uniting Church Hall, Cundletown

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Chis Cassar – 0404 572 499
Matthew Watson - 0417 691 884

Flourish Australia is a not-for-profit organisation providing support programs, employment, accommodation and hope for more than 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 more than 60 years.