Community art therapy after Black Saturday
Victoria, Australia: Two recent projects responding to the devastating Black Saturday bushfires offer inspiring examples of communities embracing art as a form of therapy.
Nature Heals is a small exhibition organised by two school students Alanah (10) and Duncan (12). Based in Strathewen – a particularly devastated area – the students have focussed on natural subjects of beauty in the regenerating bushland.
Duncan and Alanah organised the exhibition with a $12 budget, successfully requesting use of an empty shop from the local real estate agent as their exhibition space. Another business supplied food for the opening and the Rotary Club covered electricity costs.
Proceeds will be used to help the Strathewen Primary School purchase digital cameras. Local newspaper photographers have offered to hold a photography workshop for the school kids.
Storyboard, organised by Regional Arts Victoria, is an interactive website that provides a creative space to share photos, videos, artworks and stories with others who have been affected by the bushfires.
The project was developed to allow communities to collectively deal with trauma, however material uploaded to the website will also be used by the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Sustainability and the Environment in community education programs.