WorkAbility artists share their stories at Spiral

ARTISTS from across the Bega Valley, Monaro and Eurobodalla came together at Spiral Gallery on Friday to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition My Story, My Place. 

The exhibition is part of the My Story, My Place program funded and supported by Arts NSW, WorkAbility and Richmond PRA that focuses on telling personal stories though art and music. 

Last Friday was the turn of art to take centre stage, with mentors Steve Fox and Annie Franklin introducing the pieces and the artists behind them. 

“Annie and I walked into a blank white cube at Spiral yesterday and left with it looking like a little shrine, full of jewels,” Mr Fox said.  

“It’s such a wonderful celebration of their work, of these artists sharing their stories. 

“It’s a joy and a pleasure to do this.”

Mr Fox worked in Moruya with WorkAbility clients from the Eurobodalla, while Ms Franklin has run her classes from Bega not only with local clients, but with enthusiastic artists who have travelled fortnightly from Cooma and Bombala. 

“It’s enjoyable to be mentoring this group of artists and I’m so honoured to be today,” Ms Franklin said.

Robert Taylor brings the Cooma artists to Bega and said “it’s made such a difference to the group I bring here”. 

“It’s brought so much confidence in themselves to everyone on the group, and I dearly hope it continues.” 

Although funding for the My Story, My Place program ends in June, WorkAbility’s executive manager Virginia Fitzclarence said it’s the just the beginning. 

“WorkAbility is looking to expand the music part of the program and is seeking musicians who can volunteer their time as mentors,” she said. 

“This whole program My Story, My Place, came out of people sharing their stories with musician Paul Johnston and he would put it to music, so expanding the music component is something we want to pursue

“My Story, My Place is about person rather than disability.”

The artwork in the current exhibition isn’t confined to the front room at Spiral, with many businesses around Bega hosting colourful banners made for the show in their front windows. 

Steve Fox noted that every business approached to place banners said yes and were “extremely welcoming”. 

“And I think we can all agree as we walk about Bega how incredible and colourful they all look,” he said.

Candelo Books, Horizon Credit Union, Travelworld, Richard PRA, Red Café as well as the office of Member for Bega Andrew Constance all have banners, along with three held at Spiral.

My Story, My Place runs at the Spiral Gallery on Church St, Bega, until March 5 and another exhibition will be held at Cooma’s Ragland Gallery in May. 

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