Art is for the heart

Art is for the heart

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Bonsai student Riehard Ewers, Bonsai artist Lester Dent and Art vs Depression creator Gracey at one of the Art vs Depression community art classes. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

A Seville Grove based organisation has been improving the mental health of seniors using art.

Art vs Depression, started by Seville Grove artist Gracey, is hosting art workshops during the Kelmscott Church of Christ’s regular Tuesday community lunches.

Gracey, along with other local artists, has been demonstrating as well as teaching seniors art in various mediums including painting, music and even the ancient art of Bonsai tree growing.

Gracey only started Art vs Depression this year following his own mental health struggles but said he was happy with the impact they were having in the community.

“I approached them and they came back saying they’ve got a group of seniors that feel like they’ve been left behind,” he said.

“There’s a lot of junior and youth programs but not much for these guys, I put my hand up and said, let’s get an art program happening here.

“We get an artist to come in to do live paints, live shows and basically teach and share their experience to what they believe art is.

“The community benefits because they get to experience art, I get to target the less fortunate.

“The response I’m getting is they’ve never experienced art this way.”

Gracey said there were several benefits to the program.

“I’ve got a major focus on providing information about local organisations for seniors, I try and get professional organisations in when I can,” he said.

“In terms of mental health, art shuts out a lot of noise because they have to concentrate.

“If you can consistently have them doing that it will create a habit of focus and concentration.

“Some of the programs they can take home with them like the Bonsai are great because they’re low maintenance and they don’t need a big space.”

Art vs Depression has grown tenfold since the beginning of the year.

Initially Gracey went out into the community with a box of crayons and a piece of paper and while speaking to people about his own run in with depression he asked them to record a mark or draw a picture.

He and the other artists then used the markings as inspiration for their pieces.

He is hosting his next exhibition in January.