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Health care with an artistic twist at South East Regional Hospital, Bega

By Ian Campbell 18 June 2018 0
Chelsy Atkins pulled a crowd in April, with Miriam Kidd's art as the backdrop. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Chelsy Atkins pulled a crowd in April, with Miriam Kidd’s art as the backdrop. Photo: Ian Campbell.

South East Arts (SEA) has turned the South East Regional Hospital in Bega into a music venue.

The next lunchtime concert in the ‘Uplift – live music and art program’ is this Thursday (June 21) featuring well known local talent Andy O’Donnell and Corrine Gibbons.

The first of the monthly concerts was held in February; an idea that forms part of SEA’s arts and health initiative – Swell.

SEA General Manager Andrew Gray says, “Arts Health is the practice of using the arts to improve health and wellbeing, as well as enhance healthcare experiences for patients and their families.”

In conjunction with the Bega Valley Regional Gallery and Tulgeen Disability Services, South East Arts have also installed an exhibition of bright, bold paintings by ‘Art in the Garage’ artist Miriam Kidd in the hospital foyer.

“Arts Health projects strive to decrease pain, anxiety and boredom that is often associated with critical diagnosis and hospitalisation,” Mr Gray says.

“This is an opportunity for artists to contribute their creativity to others in an important and meaningful way.”

World-renowned percussionist Greg Sheehan performing at the hospital in February. Photo: Ian Campbell.

World-renowned percussionist Greg Sheehan performing at the hospital in February. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Singer-songwriter Chelsy Atkins performed for patients, staff, and visitors in April.

“Music has the power to heal, music can go anywhere – even hospital,” she says.

“It’s a privilege to play here and for these people and just for a moment help them forget whatever it is they might be dealing with.”

Bega Valley Health Service Manager Wendy Hubbard backs the idea saying hospital staff also benefit.

“It’s wonderful, the music filters through the whole building and calms this busy place down, and it reminds us of the important things,” she says.

Aside from the lunchtime gigs in the main hospital foyer, SEA has commissioned performers to go ward to ward and bed to bed.

Harpist Prem Kranti. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Harpist Prem Kranti. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Harpist Prem Kranti says the response has been positive.

“It creates a bit of respite for people, its something else for people to rest their mind on instead of worrying or focussing on their pain,” she says.

“That little bit of time out is healing, and it creates a ‘presence’ where you can talk to people. The harp seems to create a feeling of safety and people tend to open up about things – it warms them up for conversation.”

The general public is invited to each performance, donations to the Swell – Arts Health program can be made via the South East Arts website.

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