Art program engages youth

Zara and Caryss show off their work, completed as part of the Contrast Seymour Youth Art Program.

SOME of Seymour’s best young artists have their work on display at Seymour Visitor Information Centre as part of the Contrast Seymour Youth Art Program.

The program was designed to develop their artistic, health and wellbeing strengths and skills, and connect them with peers through social media.

Seymour youth participated in the 10-week program throughout lockdown, each receiving art supplies worth $300, including acrylic paint pack, calligraphy pack and a clay model pack.

Participants stayed connected through a private Facebook group where they were able to communicate with local artists, learn how to produce art and discuss the benefits of art to health and wellbeing.

They also took part in a live question and answer session with 90 Degrees, the studio responsible for the Seymour rail underpass mural, and worked closely with Seymour District Art Society members through live tutorials and a virtual tour.

The young people also took part in an art therapy workshop, discussed the benefits of art to mental health, and participated in a live lesson on calligraphy and pottery.

Participants said the program had been a great stress reliever and helped them to do something rather than using screens all the time. One said the program ‘helped a lot with my wellbeing – I can put my emotions into what I make and use colours to show that’.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said it was great to see younger members of the community unleash their artistic talents, discover new skills and make new connections.

“We’ve been able to connect some of our most talented young people with local artists, and we hope that relationship continues to build into the future,” she said.

Seymour and District Art Society president Wid Bradley said it was great to connect with a different age bracket and get to know young people in Seymour.

“We would like to spread the love of art across the Seymour community, and continue working with organisations in the future,” she said.

The artwork is on display at Seymour Visitor Information Centre until the end of December.

The program was funded by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Local Drug Action Team program and was delivered by Mitchell Shire Council Youth Services.