Making a difference together through art

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By Lauren Ferrone

Making a difference is often easier when it’s done together – and a new collaborative art program for South Australians living with disability is proving just that.

While disability services provider, scosa, has provided in-house craft, painting and decorative activities for many years, it recognised clients deserved even greater opportunities to pursue their passions.

It was a mission Sportsmed SA – a private orthopaedic hospital, day surgery and multidisciplinary outpatient clinic – wanted to join.

More than 100 scosa clients living with disability are now able to express themselves through the Mind & Body Wellbeing Program, a partnership between scosa and Sportsmed SA.

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More than 100 scosa clients express themselves through the scosa/Sportsmed SA Mind & Body Wellbeing Program

Activities in the program include: dance therapy; painting; woodwork; and mosaics and pottery, which has an especially powerful sensory effect for clients born with cerebral palsy.

As part of the Mind & Body Wellbeing Program, the Maximum Potential Art Exhibition held this week auctioned a number of artworks designed by scosa clients, raising about $14,000 for the arts program and other scosa initiatives.

Andrew Baines, one of the internationally known artists who delivered a number of art classes to clients, donated a special painting he created for the exhibition, which was auctioned for $4,000.

“It was refreshing to hear Andrew talk about his involvement in this project. He was open in saying he didn’t really understand the disability sector in the beginning, but had some wonderful moments through him teaching clients,” says Alan Morrison, Sportsmed SA CEO of Orthopaedics and Hospitals.

“In the end, he had a really good view on disability and how creative and wonderful some of these people are despite physical disabilities,” he adds.

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Andrew Baines was one of the internationally known artists delivering a number of art classes to scosa clients

John Tobin, scosa’s Business Development and Marketing General Manager, says the organisation’s partnership with Sportsmed SA grew at a function last year.

“Alan and I were talking and he told me during the evening they’d like to do something more meaningful with scosa to help promote physical and mental health of participants,” John says.

“A lot of our clients are non-verbal, and the arts is a great way to give people living with disabilities a voice,” he adds.

According to John, “what was really nice about Sportsmed S.A. was staff got heavily involved in fundraising $7,000 during a quiz night and even volunteered at sausage sizzles”.

“The corporate participation from staff was fantastic, and that’s how a really strong partnership forms,” he adds.

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Sportsmed SA’s Alan Morrison and Hospital Director, Alison Zilm, at a fundraising sausage sizzle for scosa

Sportsmed SA fully fund the program costs; from the art sessions, transportation and even the paint brushes.

While Sportsmed SA has supported a number of charities, Alan says it “wanted to be involved in a project with more meaning”.

“We wanted to find a charity party that aligned with our values and what we do as an organsiation to deliver something meaningful and worthwhile,” he adds.

Despite the exhibition marking the end to this year’s program, Sportsmed SA will continue to fund the Mind & Body Wellbeing Program in 2017.

“scosa is now an engrained part of what we do at Sportsmed SA,” Alan says.

The partnership between the two South Australian organisations formed after Sportsmed SA found scosa on Brand South Australia’s Charity Pages; a platform giving charities the opportunity to highlight their work, and a tailored search function for businesses to discover a range of charities and engagement opportunities that align with their goals and values. 

Pictured in feature image is John Tobin, scosa’s Business Development and Marketing General Manager, with scosa clients at the scosa/Sportsmed SA art exhibition this week.

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