Exhibition aims to help community Connect
An exhibition looking at mental health wellbeing and encouraging the community to connect with each other has opened at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
The exhibition is an annual contribution by artists from the Invercargill and Gore Mental Health Day Activity Centre, a recovery-oriented programme providing activities, support and education sessions to help people with mental illness develop life and living skills within a social environment.
People can be referred to the service by mental health practitioners or their GP.
Centre team manager Raewyn Clarke said the exhibition was an annual highlight that staff and clients worked towards.
"The artists have explored a wide range of mediums throughout the year, allowing each person to achieve fulfilment of their self-expression, greater creativity and proficiency in their chosen fields. The artists work in a mutually supportive environment, which enables them to learn how to use lifelong skills that can be shared and developed within the wider community," she said.
This year's title and theme, Connect, was particularly fitting, because the exhibition enabled people to take a valued place within the community, she said.
"People are stronger when they pull together, and it prompts people to think about who they can connect with today."
For attendee Robyn McGowan, who has taken part in the classes for five years, the centre helped restore her confidence.
"The centre has helped restore my confidence and it's challenged me to persevere with my artwork," she said.
Participants all tried to help each other with projects, and her involvement had also helped create income - last year she was commissioned to make sculptures for the health board chief executive, she said.
Connect was one of the five themes of Mental Health Awareness Week, which will run from October 7 to 13.
The exhibition is open until October 13.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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