The Arties exhibition at Burrinja

A New World; Created Through Art

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Post by Makayla Rimington

Burrinja’s Mission Statement endeavours to ‘build community through arts’ and a shining example of this is the Burrinja ‘Arties’. The Arties is a Burrinja Planned Activity Group who, in 2016, celebrate a decade of weekly meetings. The program involves adults of all abilities, from many different circumstances, joining together to create individual, expressive art.

Edges & Echoes is the chosen title for this year’s upcoming celebration. This involves gaining inspiration from subtle realms of both the imagination and reality. An opening song, followed by performances and exhibitions are planned for this significant occasion. Lynette and the volunteers have worked with The Arties for many weeks in preparation, including a dress rehearsal to practice the meaningful opening number.

Managed and funded by Burrinja and The Department of Health and Human Services, The Arties gives people that may feel outcast from the public a chance to fit in, to be accepted by a group of like-minded people in a community and arts focused facility while creating and performing. An extremely positive outcome from this Burrinja Arties program is mental wellbeing; giving people aged 20 to 70 a chance to use their individual abilities to overcome obstacles, both physical and mental.

It is an arts-based skills and learning program that emphasises cultural participation while enriching understandings of culture and community. The program also teaches socialisation skills and many art techniques.

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Lynette Forrest, an experienced Creative Arts Therapist, facilitated and designed the program that assists members of the community who are affected by mental illness and expands social support for those who are ‘at risk of homelessness’. Many of the people involved have had experience with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but having the involvement of working with other Arties gives a sense of achievement, peace and connection. Arties ‘challenges the participants to take positive risks by trying new activities, learning with artist mentors, exhibiting, performing and more’.

Lynette believes in the healing power of art, it moves beyond language and understanding, becoming instead about the physical and the pleasure of ‘doing’. ‘Anyone can do it, they can’t fail, they trust me to help them create and learn’ says Lynette.

Being treated as welcomed and individual members of the public is integral to supporting and encouraging the Arties participants to create art that tells their story.

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Each week the partakers create art-work that they have a chance to exhibit and sell once a year at the annual Arties Event. This involves painting, photography and construction all the way through to dance, music, drama and narrative.

‘The Arties get so much out of special programs like this, it is wonderful to experience’ – Dr. Ross Farnell, Executive Director, Burrinja.

‘If only everyday could be Friday’ was remarked to Lynette recently, each meeting is looked forward to by the artists, and the yearly exhibition gives the participants and their works prominence and appreciation from the community.

Lynette has found a link between art, music and mental wellbeing, she observes a positive transformation in her participants; ‘when they return next time, with a little spark, I can see that it has been a lasting change’.

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Lynette puts these amazing outcomes down to music and the arts changing and improving a participant’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

The latest event fell on November 4th and the Arties’ had planned an opening song with the help of Nicole from Harmonious Melodies. ‘Edges & Echoes’ is an exploration of the thresholds of imagination, space and time. The theme centres around making meaning out of reality and dreams, and the pieces created are an echo of each member’s world. The song, with the assistance of Nicole, has been written by the group, with the chorus ‘chase those bad dreams away’ coined by a participant. The song takes the members to the edge of their imagination, meeting both good and bad aspects.

The Arties exhibition

Celebrating 10 years of The Arties at Burrinja is an incredible achievement and shows the passion and determination of its facilitator, Lynette Forrest. ‘It’s amazing, my favourite job. I wish I could do it every day’. Lynette creates a happy place, an environment where the members can understand themselves and learn creative techniques to express their individuality. This year’s milestone gives recognition to the great work of Lynette, the volunteers and of course, The Arties.

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The Arties exhibition launch on November 4th.

The Exhibition runs from the 27th October to the 27th November at Burrinja.
Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr, Upwey.

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The Arties ready to make art at Burrinja

Who are the Arties?

The Arties ready to make art at Burrinja

Post written by Lynette Forrest

The Burrinja Arties are a group of people, their friends and some volunteers that are taken to Burrinja on a Friday morning in school terms, to take part in an art programme facilitated by Lynette Forrest, a Creative Arts therapist.

The members of the Arties range in age from those in their 20’s to those in their 70’s. All have experienced or continue to live in challenging circumstances. The group considers Burrrinja to be a place that they belong and they look forward to their art programme and the welcoming community of Burrinja.

Each year the Arties create artwork for an annual exhibition. In 2012 they presented a portrait exhibition called the ‘ArtieBalds’. The theme ‘Home’ was explored in in 2013 and the exhibition took place in the Studio Gallery and cafe at Burrinja. This year they will fill Jarmbi 2 with an exhibition titled ‘Our World Is Here…. and it is Art’. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the exhibition and gain an insight into the creative world of the Arties. The exhibition will run from the 31 October – 30 November.

Craig is a member of the Arties, whilst he only joined the group recently; he has quickly become part of the Arties family and has taken on the role as spokesperson for the group. It was the following quote by Craig that inspired the title for this year’s show. “Our world can cover the personal to the political, the microcosm to the macrocosm. The cross roads the arties have had in their life, with all their ups and downs, To what is precious to us in our world environment and what we stand to loose forever, If we don’t act now!”

The Arties at Burrinja The Arties at Burrinja

The Arties are looking for mentors to join the group on Friday mornings from 10am till noon. The commitment level is flexible, with a minimum of three visits over the 23 weeks program till the exhibition. This opportunity will mean that you are partnered with an Artie and will be able to share your gift of creativity with an individual. You are also invited to exhibit your own work in ‘Our World Is Here…. and it is Art’ exhibition.

Past mentors have found the experience mutually beneficial and the Arties are already asking who they will be partnered with this year. The group is very eager to increase their artist repertoire. If you would like to share your artist medium, skills and inspiration with this delightful group, please contact Lynette Forrest.

Mentoring the Arties

“I have spent eight years with the Arties as a Creative Arts Therapist. They are my passion! Our group has had its ups and downs but we are growing in strength, commitment and community. My team of dedicated volunteers and mentors have made a difference in the lives of each Artie and that is why the group continues.” Lynette Forrest.

Lynette Forrest
creativemajik@westnet.com.au
ph: 97545982