Two former College of Complementary Medicine Art Therapy graduates have been involved in an innovative art therapy program involving multicultural seniors from across Western Sydney, some with little English, many with health issues and one with no vision at all. The Multicultural Seniors Art Therapy Program was organised by SydWest Multicultural Services in Blacktown and funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
Art Therapists, Silvana Wiggins and Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis were brought on board to design and facilitate the program earlier this year. During the 12-week pilot, over 40 participants took part exploring their own unique creativity, creating ‘art from the heart’ and sourcing meaning and answers from within.
For some, the art processes were a new experience and for others engaging in art gave them permission to journey back to their childhoods.
The very nature of the group sessions and coming together each week created a safe space for the seniors to relax and have fun creating art – learning more about themselves through creative expression, sharing stories and making new friendships in the process.
Each week offered a new art experience centred around different topics.
Using a mix of clay, crayons, collage, paint, pencils and mosaics, the participants explored themes such as eldership, community, the seasons, joy, life journeys and more.
For more information about the program and to view the online exhibition of the artwork and the processes visit the SydWest Multicultural Services website.
A Writer and Art Therapist who combines her communications expertise with her counselling skills. Currently employed part-time with SydWest Multicultural Services in Sydney, a not for profit organisation that assists refugees, humanitarian entrants and the CALD community. Has a degree in journalism and over 15 years experience in communications. Enjoys writing human interest pieces and boasts an extensive portfolio with articles published in health and wellbeing magazines and journals. Also a trained and qualified art therapist/counsellor and works with both groups and individuals in therapeutic settings.
Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis is a practising Arts Therapist, Horticultural Therapist, and teacher. She has worked as a Community Worker, taught, managed and set up Community Services programs across Sydney, for over 20 years.
Kerryn carefully crafts a range of workshops and retreats and camps in the wilderness, that awaken, inspire and rejuvenate, while deepening connection to self and our beautiful home, the Earth. Kerryn has delivered workshops and programs for mental health services, women’s health services, various community gardens and multicultural communities. Visit Kerryn’s website for more information on upcoming workshops and retreats.