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In 2019 we launched a fund-raising drive to pave the way for an Art Space at Bedford Panorama. This involved clearing out and renovating a disused gym to create a new area dedicated to art. We had a target of $70,000 to lay new floors and ceilings, windows, work benches, a wet area and a toilet block.

At the end of the campaign we didn’t just hit the $70,000 target; over $100,000 was raised by our generous Bedford donors. That meant that not only would the new Art Space go ahead, but it also paid for art resources and supplies for the first few years of operation. The extra funding also meant we could help our clients stage exhibitions, even sell their beautiful creations and, best of all, earn their own commissions.

Rachael Griffiths, General Manager of Community Access and Lifestyle, says the Art Space not only gives Bedford’s budding artists an opportunity to be creative, but also expands their skills and knowledge.

"Within Day Options, creative and performing arts has just been seen as a ‘thing to do’, rather than an opportunity for clients to make a business out of it, and empower them to sell their own pieces, make some money, to create something outside of the traditional employment opportunities."

— Rachael Griffiths, Community Access and Lifestyle General Manager

Using a non-traditional activity like art as an income stream is exactly the sort of advantage that Bedford Clients and Supported Employees will get from the New Employment Model (NEM), which was launched on 1 July 2020. The NEM will give everyone accessing Bedford employment services more choice and control over where their NDIS Plan money is spent.

SALA artworks

Some of the SALA works created by Bedford Panorama Day Options clients

The Art Space is a busy creative hub, with classes nearly every day. Community Access and Lifestyle clients gain a creative outlet and for those who are either non-verbal or have difficulty expressing themselves, it also provides a unique means of communication.

“We have clients who can come to this space, grab a canvas and paints, and put something together which is a reflection of their emotions or feelings or hopes and dreams.”

To celebrate the amazing creativity flowing from the Art Space, Bedford Day Options clients from around the state have put forward their latest pieces and will enter them into the 2020 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival. While the COVID-19 pandemic has meant restrictions on large public gatherings, the Bedford SALA exhibition will have both physical and digital representations, meaning everyone can attend and enjoy the artworks at their own pace and with social distancing in mind.

Day Options participants have worked solo, in groups, and with Disability Support Workers’ assistance to produce an amazing range of artwork for exhibition in the SALA Festival.

See the Isolation Appreciation online gallery below to view the artworks selected for exhibition in 2020.

The physical Isolation Appreciation exhibition will be launched on August 28 at TEN22 Boutique Venue, with more than 150 invited guests and live entertainment from the Phoenix Allstars, Panorama Day Options crew, Bedford Beats and more.

“We see a lot of colour, a lot of texture, a lot of different themes. We’re very excited because we believe there’ll be some masterpieces unveiled on the night.”

— Rachael Griffiths, Community Access and Lifestyle General Manager