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The diverse stories of ACH Group’s artists

The ACH Group community will display more than 200 artworks in this year’s South Australian Living Arts (SALA) Festival.

The not-for-profit aged care provider invited customers, residents, staff, and volunteers to create art to the theme of ‘Favourite Things’.

A range of pieces were submitted from paintings to photography, sculpture, collage, mosaic, textiles, and mixed media.

Just as the art is diverse so are the life stories and experiences of the exhibiting artists including ACH Group staff member Marie Innes and residential care home resident Rona Stanley.

Art began as therapy for Marie after her husband died only months after the birth of their daughter.

“I started to download digital art apps on my iPad to keep my mind busy in between looking after a small baby,” Marie, who has worked at ACH Group for 22 years, said.

“It evolved that I made an online friendship group with people from various countries who test digital art apps. One of the first apps I tested was by Khoi Vinh, the former Design Director of the New York Times.”

The piece Marie exhibited in the 2023 SALA Festival is called ‘Mucha To Do About Nothing’ and was created on the art app ‘Bazaart’.

Marie with her digital collage which she submitted for SALA 2023 exhibition

“I found images of my favourite things including relaxing on holidays, geometric shapes, colour hues, and works by artist Alphonse Mucha and created a digital collage by cropping the images and intersplicing the pieces.”

Marie’s advice on art is, “I encourage everyone to look at the world from an artistic lens; you can see art in many objects.”

Rona, a resident of ACH Group’s Colton Court Residential Care Home located in McLaren Vale, became fascinated with art at school and it’s a passion that has continued throughout her life.

“Growing up on the West Coast of South Australia I was inspired by the natural landscape and would paint Australian scenes.”

Rona with her paintings for 2023 SALA Festival

Rona’s interest saw her take on a position as an art teacher, a role she continues to have at Colton Court where from time to time she teaches fellow residents techniques in their weekly art classes.

“I just really enjoy looking at other people’s art, seeing how they improve and where their inspiration comes from.”

Rona has exhibited two art pieces in the 2023 SALA Festival, which will be on display at the Stump Hill Gallery, McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre.

ACH Group CEO Frank Weits said the aged care provider is proud that the works of customers, residents, and staff will be exhibited in a well-regarded, public art festival.

“It is the 13th year the ACH Group arts community has exhibited in SALA and it is a favourite initiative for both experienced and budding artists to take part in,” he said.

ACH Group offers art programs led by professional art teachers in its residential care homes, retirement living villages, and community programs.

“The classes provide an opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills or revitalise past ones. The benefits customers and residents can experience from engaging in art include relieving stress and anxiety, improving brain function and building self-esteem.”

Learn more about ACH Group’s involvement in SALA and exhibition venues.

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