Platform Artspace dedicated to connecting community

14 July, 2023Posted in: Community
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Picture of the artspace hallway leading to Stations St

A new creative platform will be unveiled on Tuesday 8th August at ReFrame Youth Walk-In on Station Street, for the imaginative sharing of stories that connect our Shire. Brought to fruition by grant funding through Council’s Community Assistance Scheme, Platform Artspace will launch with an eye-catching 25m floor mural exploring the connection between mental wellbeing and creativity.

The vision for Platform Artspace is to involve local youth in an artistic discovery of self and host on-going exhibitions of their work. Council’s grant contributed to a captivating ‘Mind Map’ floor mural that lines the corridor being coordinated by local artist and Aboriginal Cultural Art Educator, Warwick Keen, in collaboration with our Gundungurra community members and Southern Tablelands Arts.

“For over 40 years, Warwick has created Mind Maps as a visual reflection of the artist’s mind, combining imagery and patterns to tell their story,” says Anthony King, Mental Platform Artspace Developer for Community Links Wellbeing. “This is a really interesting artistic collaboration. Woven together with words like ‘welcome’, ‘togetherness’ and ‘openness’, in English and Gundungurra language, the imagery explores what mental wellbeing means for this group of people.”

Developed through a series of co-designed workshops, this project was targeted to local youths and specifically those experiencing mental health issues.

Community Links Wellbeing is a not-for-profit community organisation that supports all members of our community and provides resources to help achieve positive personal and community outcomes through community development events, groups, workshops, youth programs family support, allied health and mental health services. Walk-in visitors can follow the story and its positive messaging along the corridor. “The message includes reference to the words of Kirli Saunders OMA, ‘This beautiful dawn belongs to us’, in her language and the English translation,” Anthony says.

The vision for Platform Artspace is greater than the gallery itself. Plans are in motion to branch out into the community and bring more of these stories to life, in other public locations. “We see an artistic outlet like this as a great way to bring awareness of mental health issues into schools, and everyday conversations,” Anthony says. “The creative process helps to positively engage students with their mental and emotional wellbeing.”

As many students as possible will be involved in building a narrative around the emotions they experience, ways of managing stress, how school fits with their life and how it impacts their identity. Anthony sees a strong link between youth mental wellbeing and imagination. “We imagine who we are, who we want to be, and how we fit with the world around us,” he says. “Platform Artspace provides a platform for local youth to show us what’s going on in their mind’s eye”.

WSC’s Coordinator Community Development, Corinne Buxton says the project is exactly the sort of community-focused initiative Councils’ Community Assistance Scheme seeks to support. “What a unique way to connect our community and promote self-care, with the bonus of beautifying public spaces,” Corinne said.

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