Building on Art and Community

SLO_0325 The Bendigo Hospital Project has been busy with extra works of a different kind this month. That’s because project consortium Exemplar Health has encouraged the children at Jenny’s Early Learning Centre to don their painting smocks and enjoy the process of art-making.

It’s all been part of an Exemplar Health art auction event this week, which involved exhibiting the children’s artwork and including each work in a silent auction, with prizes awarded. The event raised $2000 – will all proceeds going to the Bendigo Health Foundation.

In preparation for the event, last month, the young ones at Jenny’s Early Learning Centre, located on the Bendigo Hospital Lucan Street site, visited the Bendigo Art Gallery and Arts Hotel, The Schaller Studio, for a good helping of creative inspiration. Taking a sneak peek and selecting the most outstanding artworks was a judging panel made up of Bendigo Art Gallery senior curator, Tansy Curtin; Coliban Water chief financial officer and Bendigo Health Foundation board member Peter Leersen; Exemplar Health chairman, Stephen McDonough and Victorian Government architect Jill Garner. Works were selected on the basis of ‘use of colour’, ‘choice of subject’ and ‘popular judges’ choice’, and were viewed by the panel at the childcare centre. FullSizeRender

According to Exemplar Health chief executive, Michele Morrison, the event, in its second year, highlights the success of the Bendigo Hospital Project and its strong links to community.

“This colourful event has brought together two thriving local businesses, Jenny’s Early Learning Centre and The Schaller Studio, both which have been established here as part of stage one of the Bendigo Hospital Project.

“We have also appreciated the valued expertise of Tansy Curtin, curator at the Bendigo Art Gallery and the generous support of Bendigo Bank, all part of an array of community contribution which culminated in a fabulous event, highlighting the Bendigo Health Foundation and its many important causes,” she said.

“Children need an open-minded attitude to nurture the process of creativity, they need to feel comfortable to explore, discover, and learn new things – and the Bendigo Art Gallery, Jenny’s Early Learning Centre and The Schaller Studio have provided just the right amount instruction and inspiration need to stir their creativity,” she added.

Bendigo Bank provided a complimentary gift to all the children who participated in the art show, and the three finalists Winners on the night (JELC youngsters: Dhanya Jani, Chris Xu and Ben McAuliffe) each received a $25 Bendigo Bank ‘Piggy Saver’ account voucher.
Jenny’s Early Learning Centre managing director, Darren Reid explained that research shows children who grow up believing they are creative, have a better chance of finding constructive outlets for creative energy in later years. He said that early childhood development is based around fostering a child’s confidence and sense of identity.

“A child’s creativity will not be just a memory; it will be a valuable, personal resource to use every day. The ability to imagine, to create and express develops self-esteem and their appreciation of cultural diversity within their community,” he said.

Mr Reid said that art is an important part of his childcare centre’s educational program.

“Jenny’s program and daily routine is based on our ‘play, explore, learn’ philosophy, which ensures that each child is challenged and engaged,” he said, “And art is very much part of that ethos.”