Blue Mountains News

Art therapy program for young people comes to Cultural Centre

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 9 Jul 2024
From left to right: Art therapist Jane Tadrist, art therapist Loren Weber and Public Programs Coordinator, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Sarah Emerson.
Children and young people in the Blue Mountains will have access to free art therapy classes this year, to boost mental wellbeing and connection through art.

Making Space | Timeout will encompass two art classes to run at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, one for children 9-12 years and the other for those aged 13-18 years.

For the younger kids,Making Space will be a safe, welcoming class for children to connect, share and express themselves through artmaking.

Timeout will assist young people aged 13-18 to learn how to relax and connect with others, and express thoughts and feelings through art.

Themes that may be touched on during classes include identity and emerging identities, change and transitions, anxiety, feelings and emotions, community and belonging, communication and self-expression, healthy boundaries, and friendships and relationships and issues that may arise from these.

During each class participants will engage with artworks, develop creative self-expression, have access to a variety of art materials and create works of art. No art making skills or medical referrals are necessary.

The classes have been funded via a $80,000 in grant from Wentworth Healthcare, the provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Mark Greenhill said: “We are thrilled to be offering this free program to young people in our community. The Cultural Centre is a special place where our community can connect, create, share and enjoy.”

Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman MP said, “This is a great example of federal health funding recognising the power of creativity in healing. Our funding, delivered to Council through decisions made at a local level by the Primary Health Network, can transform lives. The Albanese government’s national cultural policy, Revive, affirms that every Australian should have access to the wellbeing benefits that the arts provide and programs like this are exactly what we mean.”

 

The classes will be facilitated by two trained Art Therapists, Jane Tadrist and Loren Webber.

Facilitator Loren Webber said, “It’s wonderful that a community space like a regional art gallery can be used as a therapeutic space. It makes art therapy more accessible and normalises the need to nurture and promote emotional and mental well-being in children and adolescents not only where crisis occurs but something to cultivate and grow as a protective factor.

“I urge parents to investigate the classes and consider how their child may benefit from engaging in creative therapeutic programs such as Making Space | Timeout.”

Wentworth Healthcare CEO Lizz Reay said, “We are proud to be able to fund expressive therapies like this, particularly for children and young people. We know that young people in the Blue Mountains have experienced many challenges over the past few years, including bushfires and COVID-19. These programs can help young people to process their big emotions in a non-clinical setting and help to normalise conversations about mental health and wellbeing, building their ongoing resilience.”

Application is via an online form and simple questionnaire, with groups limited to 15 people per class. Places are now open for Term 3 classes. To learn more or book, visit here

 
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