SHOPPERS at Lismore Centro will have an opportunity to vote for their favourite artwork in a People's Choice competition next week. From June 19-22, community service provider New Horizons will take over the old doctor's surgery at Centro and exhibit paintings and three-dimensional works by people with lived experience of mental illness. New Horizons community worker Mark Eather encourages everyone to "come, have a look and vote".
"The winning artworks will be used in advertising materials to promote a mental health consumers forum to be held in Byron Bay in November this year," Mark said.
"The aim of the exhibition is to increase awareness about mental health and wellbeing, and promote the benefits of art in the recovery from mental illness.
"Self expression can be a powerful way to improve mental health and wellbeing, particularly for people who find it difficult to talk about their problems or concerns. By sharing the stories and showcasing the talents of people with lived experience of mental illness, we hope to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding an issue which affects so many Australians."
Artists Tanya Seasons and Toni McGregor will be exhibiting some of their artworks in the exhibition, which is part of the Art in the Heart project. Toni loves making art and has been painting since she was 14 years old, when she won first place in a competition with an oil painting of Kakadu. Now, she's experimenting with new media to create her art and is hoping this exhibition will help her kick off her artistic career.
Lismore Centro manager David Griffiths said having art exhibitions in the shopping complex gave shoppers "a bit of culture".
"It's a great thing for the community because they get to see works by artists they might not normally get exposure to. We encourage residents to drop by the centre to see the exhibition and support these individuals."
The exhibition will be officially opened by Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell at 11.30am on Wednesday, June 20.