Children’s artworks to promote good health at Forbes Hospital

Primary school children in Forbes are using their artistic skills to help the community think more about healthy food.

Selected students from kindergarten to year six in Forbes have joined Orange-based artist Heather Pike in four weekly art workshops in which they have made a series of artworks linked to the Forbes Food Revolution program.

The workshops have been held at Forbes North Public School each Thursday since May 26, with the last one completed yesterday.

A total of 31 K-6 students from each of the primary schools in Forbes - Forbes Public School, Forbes North Public School, St Laurence’s Public School and Bedgerabong Public School - were invited to take part.

The workshops were split into two groups - with kindergarten to year two students in one and students in years three to six in another.

Forbes Schools as Community Centres coordinator Maree Yapp said these selective art workshops are a great extension for those students who are artistically talented.

“There’s plenty of opportunities available for students who are good at sports but for the visual artist, there’s not much,” Mrs Yapp said.

“We saw it as an opportunity for kids who are visual artists to have another avenue to express themselves.

“Each of the students were selected by their teachers for the workshops.”

Artist Heather Pike is experienced in working with children and has exhibited widely, including her own solo show at the Orange Regional Art Gallery in 2015.

She has been helping the students to make artworks inspired by their own connections to food, including their likes and dislikes. 

“We will use pencils and ink to create lines. We will cut out shapes and paint them with colours. We will look at animals and pets, home and place, food and drink, to explore our likes and dislikes and describe who we are,” Ms Pike said.

Over the four weeks, the students have been working on their vibrant artworks which will be displayed in an exhibition at the Platypus gallery before being a permanent feature on the walls at the new Forbes Hospital.

The exhibition at the Platypus Gallery will open on Thursday, June 30 and will run for two weeks.

The students will be guests of honour at the opening of the Forbes’ Platypus Gallery exhibition where they will receive a card with an image of their work and will officially donate their work to the Forbes Hospital to be part of their new art collection.

“Healthy food habits start young and art making is a great way for children to have conversations about the food they eat and like,” Arts OutWest Arts and Health Coordinator Christine McMillan said. 

“The artworks by the children in the hospital will also be a constant, positive reminder to the community of healthy food habits.”

This is the latest activity as part of the culture and arts program at the Forbes and Parkes hospitals.

The Lachlan Health Services Project engaged regional arts development organisation Arts OutWest to integrate culture and arts into the Forbes and Parkes Hospital redevelopments.

The Culture and Arts Working Group includes representation from the Lachlan Health Service Project team, Arts OutWest, the Lachlan Health Council, health staff and the Aboriginal community and is responsible for implementing a flexible and sustainable program that promotes well-being and creates a welcoming, vibrant place for the Forbes and Parkes communities.