The VicHealth Project

This project sat on the back-burner for most of 2020, bubbling away throughout the year to evolve with the challenges of COVID. One great change was the Melting Pot – I created a pivot to virtual sessions via zoom to encourage art making as a way to build mental resilience during social lockdown. Some of you were able to be part of this really fun and encouraging experience – thanks for joining in!

Expressions of Interest

I’m really excited to be opening out the project for Expressions of Interest. We’re looking for artists who would like to be involved. We’re looking for community groups who have a story to tell. VicHealth has contributed funding to facilitate ten small art projects to begin an art-making process. I will be working closely with Karen Whitaker-Taylor, from Baw Baw Shire, to coordinate and mentor the groups as they evolve. What they create over that time will be captured in little artistic films. These will be shared online and via projections on and in venues around West Gippsland.

COVID-lockdown hesitation

The first of the ten projects is already underway as a pilot, to test the concept. This will inform how the rest of the ten will be embedded in the region. One thing I’m finding is that there is some hesitation for events, and regular group sessions. This can only be expected, after almost a year of cancelled shows, and cancelled social groups. Another thing – which is just a hunch – is that we have become used to staying at home. In some ways, the slower pace of lockdown was welcome. Do we want to return to that frenetic pace of life?

Lockdown in Melbourne!

Social isolation due to circumstance

However, there are people in our community whose life didn’t change a great deal with the lockdown events. Their isolation was due to circumstances: health issues, mobility issues, socioeconomic challenges, or different cultural or linguistic backgrounds. The main goal of the VicHealth funded program is to enable these sometimes hidden ones. The goal is to encourage and assist those who are socially isolated to become part of a creative social group. Perhaps you know of someone who could benefit from being part of a creative process? Could you share your love of making with others? If so, please fill out this contact form so I can chat about your ideas with you.

Happy making,

Bec Vandyk

live WELL – COME share

Baw Baw Stories: The VicHealth Grant

VicHealth have awarded the Baw Baw Shire with an Everyday Creativity grant that will increase access to arts activities, among a wide cross section of the community. Arts & Health Gippsland will be managing the project, along with Karen Whitaker-Taylor, the Shire’s Cultural Development Officer.

To begin the work of this project while we are restricted in our community access face to face, Arts & Health Gippsland will host an online series called ‘The Melting Pot‘. In this series, we will:

🎨 try a creativity-sparking activity in a guided session;

🎨 take a look at an inspirational arts story from an historic or cultural perspective;

🎨 and we’ll finish up with a ‘show and tell’ – we can still make social connections even though we are in ‘lockdown’…

If you would like to be part of the free online series (to begin on the last Sunday in August), please add your name to our mailing list!

Project Concept

Once restrictions are lifted, the Live WELL COME Share project will begin the next phase of its work, based on the identification of small Creative Nodes – small groups of people in their geographic location – who will be led by an artist facilitator in an art-making project or series of sessions. The Creative Node participants will choose the type of medium and the project, assisted by their artist facilitator, and informed by a local person who has a long connection with the area. In this way, the participants (some who may be new to the area) can learn more about the land that they are a part of in their daily lives. 

Arts & Health Gippsland director, Bec Vandyk, will guide each Artist facilitator and the participants of the node in creating short pieces of video footage of the art that is made (whatever the medium, whether visual or performing arts, or permanent or ephemeral arts), and/or the process of making the art. Bec will produce short films from each Creative node, and screen them online and in cafes, and regional library branches.

The Creative Nodes and their Work

  1. Nodes will be chosen organically according to an expressed need by a community member or health worker (in conjunction with the Latrobe Community Health Service), specifically seeking out those who feel isolated;
  2. Nodes will not run all at once, but be rolled out slowly – the first three nodes will run as ‘pilot’ projects, getting a feel for how best to make the concept work in the context, then other nodes, one or two at a time, will follow, over an approximately 12 month period;
  3. Nodes will be a ‘no-cost’ or ‘low-cost’ activity for local community members (based on the chosen medium) with funding assistance to enable those with mobility needs;
  4. Artist facilitators will be chosen through an Expression of Interest process, and hiring decisions based on each applicant’s prior experience in facilitating community-based activities, as well as their current art practice;
  5. Artist facilitators will be paid for their time according to an agreed contract;
  6. Artist facilitators will be trained in arts-for-health concepts, use of social media (if required), and will be provided mentoring support throughout the project;
  7. Art facilitators will be encouraged to seek out a local knowledge-holder to inform their work within the Creative Node, and this process may be assisted by the project manager and/or local health and community workers;
  8. The art-making process in each Creative Node will be facilitated by the project to fund, recycle, or source materials, tools, and/or other necessary resources for art-making;
  9. The art will be used to create a visual record in the form of short pieces of video footage, which will be compiled and curated by the Project Manager with the advice and assistance of the Artist facilitator in each Creative Node.

Throughout the course of the project, the small films will be screened in public places across the Baw Baw shire and further afield in conjunction with the West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation. The Library will also have a limited ability to act as a depository for some elements of the art-making processes, and to some extent and for a limited time, some of the artworks themselves. This will serve the purpose of local place-making, but may also spark further interest in the project, to further identify community members who may desire or could benefit from social connection.

We’d love to hear from you if you have ideas, or if you know of someone or a group of people who would really benefit from some everyday creativity in their lives!

Please use the mailing list above to make contact 😊
Arts and Health Gippsland