Over the past few months, Dundaloo Support Services has given out 300 canvases and art packs to people living with disabilities across the Mid Coast region and beyond, inviting them to paint an artwork inspired by the words 'We Are One.'
The artworks will be projected on the southern outside wall of the Manning Regional Art Gallery from 10.30am on Thursday, December 2 to commemorate International Day of People with Disability, and the team at Dundaloo is inviting everyone to come along.
What started as an idea driven by Dundaloo Support Services, gained the interest from the Manning Regional Art Gallery and MidCoast Council to develop the digital artwork installation as a result of the original event being cancelled due to COVID regulations.
The "We Are One" Artistic Ability and Diversity Concert was originally to be held at the Manning Entertainment Centre (MEC) on Friday, November 26 with the physical artworks displayed as a backdrop exhibition on stage.
The concert has been rescheduled to next year but the team wanted to still commemorate the talents of their participants for the International Day of People with Disability which is held on December 3.
If it wasn't for the event at the MEC being cancelled, we wouldn't have gotten the support to develop the digital installation which we can now use for future performances.Dundaloo's family and community liaison, Matt Zarb
"The forced reschedule ended up working out for the best," said family community liaison at Dundaloo, Matt Zarb.
"If it wasn't for the event at the MEC being cancelled, we wouldn't have gotten the support to develop the digital installation which we can now use for future performances.
"Out of adversity came an outcome that was even better than what we had anticipated," he said.
Matt said the event has been a huge community effort and has been embraced by many people.
"The most important thing about events like this is connecting people and bringing different communities together all the time in as many ways as we can.
"It has really set the precedent for what the event will look like in the future to make sure it is an annual event."
It really is about celebrating ability as well.Dundaloo's family and community liaison, Matt Zarb
Matt said the idea was well received from the families of the participants who said it has had a positive impact on not only them, but the families and carers too.
"A lot of the participants live remotely and some of them are home-schooled because of their disabilities, so by giving them the art supplies with the goal to have them projected on the gallery, it gave them a purpose of being part of a wider community.
"It really is about celebrating ability as well," Matt said.
Matt said the paintings will stay up for months for people to enjoy. Morning tea will be provided at the unveiling and all are welcome, he said.
The project was driven by Dundaloo's CEO Mark Drury, and further supported by the Manning Regional Art Galley, MidCoast Council and the wider community.
Dundaloo Support Services (DSS) is a disability service based in the Manning Valley, Great Lakes and Gloucester areas. It support individuals and their families in the Manning Valley and the Forster, Great Lakes and Gloucester towns and surrounds.
The Dundaloo Foundation Ltd was established in 1953 by local families, initially to provide schooling for children and young people with an intellectual disability.
Today, DSS operates 90 staff including support workers, a senior practitioner, administration and finance staff. Support workers provide accommodation and whole of life support to individuals in 24-hour support settings and drop-in support in community homes across the geographical region.
It was chosen by the parents who started the organisation way back in 1953 and comes from the Biripi word meaning 'A good place'.
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