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The initial purpose of this long-term community arts project in Orange, New South Wales, was to make the town's newly integrated hospital a socially inclusive place for Aboriginal people and people with a mental illness (the hospital had previously been split into general and psychiatric campuses). Other aims of the project were to engage the Orange community, facilitate pride and ownership of the hospital, and address the stigma surrounding mental illness.
The project employed professional artists to work with patients, staff, and volunteers to create artworks for display in prominent parts of the hospital and grounds. It was intended that the artwork would create a powerful and visible presence of the community, and in particular, of Aboriginal people.
The artworks created for the project were terrazzo pavers and woven sculptures that used contemporary and traditional Aboriginal weaving techniques. Through a partnership with a mental health consumer organisation, the production of much of the artwork took place at the O'Brien Centre on-site at the hospital. Other pieces were created by community members in Condobolin, Forbes, Parkes, Wellington, and Bathurst.
The project, which is part of the Orange Health Service's long-term Arts and health strategy, was overseen by a committee that included representatives from Orange City Council, Arts OutWest, the Local Aboriginal Lands Council, Taste Orange, Orange Heath Council, and the Mental Health Community Reference Committee.
Abstract adapted from Arts OutWest
Coordinator Health Promotion and Early Intervention, Western NSW Local Health District
Orange Health Service
PO Box 319
Orange NSW 2800
Ph: (02) 6360 7857