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Residents’ artworks raise money for reburbishment project


Artworks at Catholic Healthcare’s Gertrude Abbott art exhibition auction

Scores of artworks created by aged care residents went on display at an inner-city exhibition and up for auction to help fund a renovation.

Residents from Catholic Healthcare’s Gertrude Abbott Aged Care and The Sister Anne Court facilities in Sydney’s Surry Hills have been participating in weekly art based cognitive therapy sessions since 2013 and report enjoying the social and interactive aspects of the classes.

While many of the residents used to claim they were not artists or were “terrible” at painting, their confidence has grown over the years.

As a result, the provider had no trouble sourcing new pieces to put on display and up for auction to help raise funds towards refurbishing Gertrude Abbott facility’s rooftop area.

Catholic Healthcare launched the exhibition of the artwork in inner-Sydney on 18 September when it held its first-ever auction.

It sold over 50 artworks on the day and an online auction to sell some of the residents’ larger artworks is open until 15 October.

Catholic Healthcare therapist Viktoria Maksymova said art could improve an older person’s wellbeing and slow cognitive decline.

“When you create an artwork you simultaneously engage almost all parts of your brain. It’s like an orchestra where memories, emotions, motor and visual processes all work together to create something wonderful, something new to keep your mind stronger for longer,” Ms Maksymova said.

Catholic Healthcare residential manager of Gertrude Abbott and The Sister Anne Court Ruth Wernick said she could see the benefits in the disposition of the residents and increased friendships.

Viktoria Maksymova and Ruth Wernick

“Over the years the sessions have taken on a very social and interactive feel,” Ms Wernick said.

“Residents reminisce and share memories, and they sing together. Family members have also joined in and it is a great way to spend time with a loved one who has decreased cognition,” she said.

Ms Wernick said residents were excited to have their artworks in an exhibition.

“When it was suggested we have an art exhibition to show off their work, all residents jumped at the chance and spent many hours creating the works on display,” she said.

“As their confidence has grown, we don’t hear ‘I can’t do it’ anymore. They all feel like artists,” Ms Wernick said.

View and purchase the artworks here.

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One Response to Residents’ artworks raise money for reburbishment project

  1. Ruth Jacka October 9, 2019 at 11:28 am #

    My question would be is this ethical in terms of who owns the artworks. Do the artists own them and therefore the monies from the sales go back to the artists or does the facility own the artworks and therefore can profit from the monies from the sales.

    The residences pay to enter the facilities and pay an additional fee to cover costs. Are they responsible to pay for the renovations or is this the responsibility of the Catholic Healthcare.

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