The creative potential of people with disability was on show at the Sweet Dreams event in Bathurst last week. Over the past months, dancers, storytellers, artists and musicians have been awakened through the Sweet Dreams project, a series of creative workshops in Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange for adults with a disability.
Their work went on show to an audience of friends, family and the community on Tuesday 14 May 14 Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre. Around 90 people attended the afternoon event, including two researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney who are investigating the benefits of art programs for people with disability.
The Arts OutWest project included a music composition course at Orange Regional Conservatorium with renowned musician Charlie McMahon; a weekly dance group in Bathurst with choreographer Wendy Erikson and weekly workshops led by artist Cate McCarthy at LINC in Lithgow and at Wangarang Industries in Orange which were a mixture of theatre games, storytelling, visual arts and shadow puppetry.
“It was wonderful – and also important – to showcase the results of these workshops in a public way,” said Arts OutWest arts and health coordinator Christine McMillan. “Most of the participants came along yesterday. They were quite visibly proud of seeing their work on show and of being a part of the project.”
The event included an exhibition of drawings and puppets, three short films about the workshop process, four original songs performed live by the band (including one improvised piece) and a performance by the dancers. The audience was also asked to get involved, participating in a short but lively movement workshop with Wendy Erikson.
For some of the workshop participants, Sweet Dreams was the first time they had taken part in any kind of arts activities.
Arts OutWest executive officer Tracey Callinan said that whilst Sweet Dreams was a one-off state government funded project, the organisation is very keen to do more work in this area in the future.
“We wanted not just to provide an opportunity for people to participate but to create quality work; which I absolutely we think we achieved,” Ms Callinan said.
Outcomes also include a professionally recorded 10 track CD of the music and a short video which is being made about the project.
The Sweet Dreams project was supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care. The project is part of Arts OutWest’s ongoing arts and health program.
Image credit: Photo by Maryanne Jacques (Arts OutWest), L – R: Amanda Rutledge, Kristine Marshall, Shelley Tang, Jessie Crawford, choreographer Wendy Erikson and arts and health coordinator Christine McMillan.