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Take a trip around the world this SALA

ACH jam factory workshop

ACH Group’s arts community is set to take a trip ‘Around the World’ at this year’s South Australian living Arts (SALA) Festival.

In its ninth year as part of SALA, ACH Group’s community of customers, volunteers and staff has submitted over 240 works to be exhibited across a record 10 venues state-wide.

Works have been created by community arts groups, run across metropolitan Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula, as well as art classes in residential care homes and ceramic and jewellery making workshops run by ACH Group in conjunction with JamFactory that are open to people living with neurological conditions and people over the age of 65.

ACH Group Manager Social Inclusion and Programs Gwyn Elson said works had been submitted across a range of mediums, from jewellery and ceramics to photography and painting. “This year we invite people to explore the influence and uniqueness of different cultures, travel destinations and experiences through art,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be involved in this inclusive festival that celebrates the creative talents of our customers, volunteers and employees.”

ACH Group will again invite the wider community to try art for the first time via a series of free art classes, along with printmaking, a sketching tour of the Art Gallery of South Australia, jewellery and metal, ceramics and spoon carving workshops at JamFactory. Come ‘n’ try classes will be held in Yankalilla, Torrensville, Victor Harbor, McLaren Vale, Newton, Ridgehaven and Adelaide.

“We know that art can bring so many benefits, including relaxation, a sense of satisfaction and joy, the chance to make new friends and challenge ourselves to try something new,” Ms Elson said. “Art classes give people the opportunity to try art for the first time or renew an old passion or interest.”

Flinders Medical Centre Arts in Health Manager Sally Francis said there was growing evidence that ‘Art on Prescription’ programs introduced in the UK – where doctors prescribe ‘art and culture’ to patients – were improving health and wellbeing, saving costs for GP practices and reducing hospital admissions.

“Art can be therapeutic as a simple diversional activity and a distraction, but also therapy-based and a valuable form of self-expression and communication, increasing feelings of self-worth, self-esteem, confidence and identity. There is a myriad of neurological effects and hormonal responses, which improve health and wellbeing and can change behaviours in a positive and long term way.”

Ms Elson said ACH Group, which marked its 65th anniversary in 2017, had long recognised the value of art in healthy ageing.  “We’ve been running arts classes for older South Australians for more than 30 years,” she said. “Our arts focus is one of 50 different social programs across South Australia.”

ACH Group’s SALA exhibition is supported by a grant from the ACH Group Foundation.

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Pictured: ACH Group’s 2019 SALA exhibition includes works produced in ceramics workshops held in conjunction with JamFactory.