Clients at Bexley Community Centre have been experimenting with new art styles and mediums thanks to speciality workshops hosted by local artist Diamando Koutsellis. The art sessions are funded by a generous bequest left to Afford from the estate of the late Bessie Mann.

Afford Community Centres encourage you to do what makes you happy while learning new skills and engaging with those around you.

“The clients love the workshops. Every Wednesday, they come in asking what the art session will be about because they look forward to it so much. Diamando always does a big reveal for them and she gets them excited about the activities,” said Team Leader, Jarryd Klessens.

These art sessions challenge our clients to think creatively, use a range of gross motor skills and explore mixed media. Their first project was to craft then paint clay masks, inspired by those used traditionally across Indigenous cultures. The activity was a fun way to introduce them to art with purpose. Everyone rose to the challenge and many were surprised by their skills.

“Everyone has made great improvements. In the first week, many clients said, ‘we can’t do this,’ but they have since proven to themselves that they can,” continued Jarryd.

Kylie is one client who usually enjoys keeping to herself when she attends the community centre but has bloomed and found friendship through the art sessions. She has become increasingly more confident each week and has been getting involved and leading conversations. This increase in community and teamwork has become a trend.

“Even some of the boys at Bexley aren’t normally big on arts and crafts but they have thoroughly enjoyed getting involved with the clay activities,” said Jarryd.

To which he added, “Diamando is awesome with the clients. She is engaging and helps them out where she needs to but also lets them express themselves.”

Afford is grateful to the selfless individuals, like the late Bessie Mann, who leave bequests to Afford. Your generosity allows us to continue supporting our clients and providing them with unique and fun experiences.

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