Manning Celebrates Inaugural Mental Health Art Exhibition

Wed Sep 18, 2013

Mental illness is the driving force behind an upcoming art exhibition in Taree - the first of its kind in the Manning area.

Called ‘Brushes with Life’, the exhibition will see people with a lived experience of mental illness and their families, carers and mental health professionals contribute works including paintings and sculptures.

Dozens of works will go on display, many of them giving insight to mental health and wellbeing and recovery journeys.

A series of local workshops have been held, enabling participants to progress their contributions.

The exhibition will also spearhead local celebrations for National Mental Health Awareness Month (October).

“Art as a therapy for people with a lived experience of mental illness is now widely recognised,” organiser and Taree RichmondPRA Coordinator Kirsten Olsen said.

“It often enables people to express themselves in ways that they can’t face-to-face and move towards wellness through creativity.

“The project also goes a long way to destigmatising mental illness, which is still often misunderstood in the community.

“Some of the works in the pipeline are truly inspirational, indicating that the exhibition will be a great success.”

Contributing artist Michael Fallson is part of the Taree Community Mental Health team and says art is a tremendous outlet for those with a lived experience of mental illness.

“Art is such a powerful and creative way to reflect and externalise emotions in a safe way,” Mr Falson said.

“This exhibition will benefit the community by showing everyone that art can be created and enjoyed by all, no matter who we are”.

Another artist Craig Elkington has taken up art to help overcome agoraphobia. He says that exhibiting his work in Brushes with Life gives him “pride and joy, knowing other people may understand what my painting is about”.

Brushes with Life will open at Shop 1 Pulteney Arcade (on Pulteney Street) Taree on Thursday October 3 at 5.30pm until 7pm. Then on Friday October 4 from 11am to 5pm and Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the long weekend from 10am until 2pm (finally closing 2pm Monday October 7).

Entry is free.

Many works will be for sale.

The project is supported by Hunter New England Health, Richmond PRA, Greater Taree City Council, Mental Health Association NSW and Department of Families, Housing, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs.

If you are interested in exhibiting please call Kirsten on 1300 779 270 or Michael on 6592 9693.

Entries close Tuesday 24 September, 2013

Matthew Watson – 0417 691 884
Kirsten Olsen – 0448 060 661