Building a connected community through intergenerational art

Building a connected community through intergenerational art

Regional Arts WA

This story was submitted by a member of the regional arts sector: Carolyn Tenardi. We love sharing stories from the sector. If you want to find out how to submit your own stories, take a look at the submit your story page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Once again, the SunSmart Augusta River Festival has undertaken an ambitious satellite project to unite the seaside town of Augusta and this motivated regional community has embraced the challenge with gusto!

What began with a Community Development grant from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River to the Augusta Playgroup in 2020 for intergenerational art has now transitioned to a major project to engage volunteers and individuals of all ages.

Young girl stands in a in library holding a painting of a sea trurtle, framed in a large white frame. Photo courtesy of Augusta Margaret River Festival.

WA social distancing guidelines last year saw the Playgroup project modified to remain in-house at the Augusta Primary School. Local professional artist Heather Lowe-Sims facilitated the creation of 80 pieces of themed art by young community members aged from toddlers to school leavers. The children were introduced to a range of new techniques involving textiles, watercolours, ink, paper batik and oil pastels building skills and confidence whilst having plenty of fun during what was a very challenging time.

Recently, the volunteer committee from the Augusta River Festival met with Heather and unanimously agreed to expand the project to the wider community, focusing on the valuable intergenerational message. The first of many art workshops began with the Leeuwin Frail Aged Lodge in September this year.

The Art has continued to be vibrant and refreshing with each session introducing a different principle and theme, meaning the outcome will culminate in an extraordinary kaleidoscope of variety. Many of the participants have little or no artistic experience and the outcomes have been exceptional.

A large collaborative centrepiece for the project was created at an Intergenerational Playgroup morning tea hosted by the new Augusta & Districts Community Childcare on 19 October.

Older man wearing glasses sits at a desk covered in newspaper and art supplies, he has completed a painting of the ocean on paper. Photo courtesy of Augusta Margaret River Festival.

Heather’s energy and ability has encouraged others to test their skills and most importantly enjoy the experience. The project has taken off like wildfire and the enthusiasm that builds during the sessions is undeniable, the results are testimony to this.

It has been a delightful way to unearth some extraordinary talent, spark imagination, build confidence, and create networks. We are hoping other regional towns may be inspired to embark on similar projects that engage and activate all ages.”

It is anticipated that more than 250 framed artworks will be exhibited at the first Augusta Arty Party hosted by the Augusta Hotel on Friday 12 November. A silent auction will take place during the exhibition and proceeds will benefit the Augusta Primary School P&C and be reinvested into Augusta via the River Festival.

Tickets for the August Arty Part can be purchased from Humantix. Or Contact Carolyn Tenardi on 0424 607 334 to learn more about the project.

For more information on the Augusta River Festival, head to their website.

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