Storage area revived as art factory, a place for art and for socialisation

Healesville High School students invited HICCI to express their gratitude for a donation. PICTURES: DONGYUN KWON

Dongyun Kwon

Healesville High School students have received an art factory thanks to a donation from HICCI.

The idea of the art factory project was started by a request from the students who did not have a space to gather.

Student wellbeing coordinator Trent Patience said he found a huge call for a space of socialisation from a needs assessment.

The project was run entirely by students, who set up rules by themselves to work efficiently as a group.

“When we first sat down, we had a group of about 25 students who were interested in being a part of this project,” Mr Patience said.

“In the first meeting, we came up with a theme and group rules to be a part of this program.

“We’ve actually printed out the rules on the site with their names have been signed.”

The chosen themes were cartoon and nature.

The students filled the walls with drawings of cartoon characters and natural objects.

The art factory is expected to be a space for students to overcome the side effects of being in a two-year lockdown.

HICCI’s executive officer Alison Gommers said HICCI was looking forward to helping local students who suffered from a long time lockdown.

“We were looking at ways of helping young people in Healesville and approached the school,” she said.

“They said if we could support them with a donation for art supplies that would be helpful, particularly after Covid-19 with all the isolation.

“They found that a lot of students weren’t communicating or socialising, they were very isolated.

“So this was one way of using the art to come together which would help them to make more friends and have fun.”

Mr Patience was also happy with the reconnecting function of the art factory.

He said It reconnected the school with the students as well as bringing the students together.

“When we started this, we had just come out of the last lockdown. So we had two years of interruption in the schooling system for these students,” he said.

“They would find it really hard to readjust at school. Throwing in a pandemic, lockdowns and disrupted learning, all their socialisation have been completely thrown out the window.

“And this has been a fantastic tool for them to reconnect.”

A year 11 student Cole McMurray was grateful for the opportunities thanks to HICCI’s donation.

“I am really positive about HICCI and what they do,” they said.

“The fact that they donated their time and money towards building the Art Factory is really amazing because we’ve got so many opportunities now.”

They were happy with the art factory because they could use the room to fulfill their passion for art in their free time despite not having any art classes anymore as a language-learning student.

The students invited HICCI to express their gratitude on 11 September.

They presented footed bowls painted by themselves to HICCI.