Uniting Communities will provide cultural and creative artistic activities to address anxiety, loneliness and support emotional health and wellbeing which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 for a range of community groups including older people, people with a significant disability and Aboriginal people.
Artist in residence, Claire Wildish commenced with the project in December 2020. Since then the project has delivered a range of projects and initiatives.
Weekly workshops for participants of the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Rehabilitation Program provide an environment for them to explore their own creative projects and engage in other collaborative arts projects.
Workshops for young people engaged in the Homelessness Support Program have been exploring self-expression and wellbeing through art. As part of the project young people are developing artwork for the counselling offices and staff are working with Claire to develop ways of creatively engaging with young people in counselling sessions.
The project has also delivered community weaving workshops, open studio sessions, an organic mosaic for the stairwell of the Pitt St Café, and workshops developing graphic design skills for young people engaged in the Reunification Program. An Aboriginal artist is also working with participants of the Aboriginal Homelessness Service to develop a mural.
While workshops were initially designed for specific participants, one of the major achievements of the project has been the development of relationships between program participants and residents of the U City Retirement Community with residents volunteering their time and skills to the project, and participants of the AOD Rehabilitation Program inviting residents to their shared lunch sessions and graduation ceremonies.