Art for mental health healing

University of Canberra expert tutors Ian Drayton, Petra Buergelt and Jordan Williams with Tumut Art Society’s Jenny Crain and Wiradjuri elder Uncle Pat Connolly at the RegenerART information session at the 5Ways Studio and Gallery on Monday.

Tumut Art Society and the University of Canberra are combining to put on 16 professionally-led visual arts workshops over the following year in fire-affected Talbingo, Adelong and Tumbarumba.

The project, a collaboration between Tumut Art Society and the Art and Design and Health faculties of the University of Canberra, the Centre of Excellence for PTSD (South Australia) and MagWill Trust (Magda Szubanski and Will Connolly – Victoria) is called RegenerART and it aims to promote and “provide these communities access to a diverse range of arts programs promoting current art practices, to strengthen communities and look at long-term healing.”

A series of four workshops will be held in each town over 12 months. One approximately every quarter will be presented in Batlow, Talbingo, Adelong and Tumbarumba.

Professional leading tutors in genres including acrylic painting, drawing, printmaking and fibre arts will present the workshops, which will be free of charge to attend.

Tumut Art Society intends to document the ongoing impact of the creative arts on healing communities by way of videography and by engaging those who attend via interviews and results of the creative processes.

Members of the Tumut Art Society will be volunteers helping the hired tutors with the catering, setting up of venues and supply of some equipment.

The RegenerART program’s creators have worked extensively since 2014, nationally and internationally with Australian Defence personnel, veterans, emergency services, Fire and Rescue and drought-affected communities in delivering creative arts workshops (incorporating visual arts, music and creative writing) to assist the recovery of individuals, families and communities dealing with traumatic events.

The funding for the program comes from donations from the MagWill Trust headed by Australian actress and comedian Magda Szubanski and Will Connolly. The dates of the workshops are to be confirmed.

RegenerART information sessions were held at the 5Ways Studio and Gallery on Monday.