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BOLDsparks Lifelong Learning Program

Location: Ballina, Northern NSW (Arts Northern Rivers)
Contribution: $5,000 – Country Arts Support Program (CASP)
The BOLDsparks Lifelong Learning Program was a pilot program developed by Northern Rivers Community Gallery, that was delivered through a series of workshops at the gallery throughout 2017. These workshops were offered free of charge and developed specifically for adults and their carers living within the Aged Care community that may also have physical, intellectual and sensory access requirements. The program aimed to combine social and educational support in stimulating a hands-on approach to learning in a safe, accessible cultural facility.
Experienced Arts Facilitators, led by Jeht Burgoyne, guided participants through a tailored creative learning program to connect with memory and personal insight. The workshops included a two-hour morning program, a tour and artist talk of the Gallery’s current exhibitions, followed by a hands-on art activity. The monthly workshops responded directly to the group of exhibitions on display.

Image: Image Credit: Northern Rivers Community Gallery (NRCG),’BOLD Sparks – Lifelong Learning’ program. Participants from BaptistCare Maranoa Centre and Crowley Care Services. Photo by Ben Wyeth Photography.

Key Stats


The Ballina Shire has a higher than average Aging population of people aged over 60, with six nursing homes operating within the Shire. Currently there are no other high quality, accessible arts programs tailored specifically to meet the needs of these valued members of the local community. Program survey results identified that 20% of participants had visited an arts and cultural facility less than once over the last 12 month period and 80% no more than four times. This program greatly expanded the community engagement and new audiences for the Gallery along with providing an enriching arts and cultural experience for the participants enabling long-term benefits for both parties.
A total of five facilities from the Ballina Shire and one from Byron Shire participated in the program over the course of the six-month program, which included a total of 131 participants (clients and carers). 100% of the Aged Care facilities confirmed they would attend the program again as the program provided sustained and ongoing positive impacts on the wellbeing of the participants. A carer from one of the facilities explains;
“This program allowed clients to feel a part of the community, socialising with others and keeping in touch with what local artists are exhibiting. Clients were able to feel a sense of accomplishment after each session which is important for them as this lifts spirits and makes them feel great while having fun.”

What’s Next

The Northern Rivers Community Gallery hopes to continue on with BOLDsparks and develop a ‘road-show’ type of model that can travel to visit the various Aged Care facilities for residents who are not able to visit the Gallery due to lack of transport, cultural considerations or high care needs.

More Information

For more information visit


The BOLDsparks Lifelong Learning Program was supported by Create NSW’s (formerly Arts NSW) Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and local Regional Arts Development Organisations on behalf of the NSW Government.