Encouraging voices from our next gen through arts

Creative juices: Harley and Gen Townsend in front of the Artbus. Photograph: Katrina Brandon



REMEMBER those days in school where Healthy Harold’s van would arrive at school?

Instead of Healthy Harold, here is The Artsbus program delivering art expression to schools and communities all over Victoria.

Last Rose Festival Parade in Morwell, Artsbus TV attended where they shot an episode with young artists from our area.

Now, in September, the program is free to air on Channel 31 and online to watch at 6.30pm, September 12.

“The aim of the Artsbus is to engage kids and young people in art where they may otherwise face barriers to that,” Artsbus Program manager, Gen Townsend said.

“We see art as a really important part of connecting to the community, with creativity being something that everyone should be able to access.”

Artists for Kids Culture created the bus to help bring an art studio wherever is needed in Victoria so that children and communities can find a space where they can express freely their world views through art and not be graded or feel diminished about their creations.

“If someone explicitly tells you that your art is worth the time and consideration, you are more likely to take it on and more likely learn different mediums,” co-producer, Harley (Harlequin) Goodes said.

“It creates that kick for anyone who might be interested and might want a little bit of motivation.”

The Artsbus TV is featuring six locations around Victoria such as Morwell, Mildura, Geelong, Melbourne, Springvale and Rosebud. Because the studio is on wheels, Ms Townsend and Goodes mentioned that the bus can be anywhere, anytime and they would particularly like to take it to schools and places where they can help inspire or influence children.

The project is aimed at ages five to 17, but others are encouraged to join in and volunteer to help become artistically inspired and hopefully opening up younger people to more opportunities and pathways.

The project is so that the emerging generation can be listened to and not fear sharing and expressing their ideas in the community.

“It gives them a mostly structured platform to wind all of the different steps,” Ms Goodes said.

“In school, you are graded for your art. If you don’t do it ‘right’, too bad, you get told off for not doing art ‘correctly’. It is space to explore your artistic expression freely. It is really important for mental health. You never get to make it your own in school.”

Ms Goodes shared that art has had a huge impact on her mental health and that in school it is the only other time they get to do it before they get real world priorities, responsibilities and responsibilities to other people.

“They should be given the space and creative freedom to be able to do that while they still physically have the ability to do it,” she said.

Artists for Kids Culture is also holding a festival called Y(OUR) Fest on March 9 next year to help bring the community together in the inclusion and expression of art.