Student artworks uplifting sick kids

The annual exhibition, Operation Art, is back this year with more than 931 students across New South Wales showcasing their talents to help make sick kids feel better through the power of art.

The exhibition officially opened on Saturday, 15 September at Armory Gallery in Sydney Olympic Park. Operation Art, an initiative of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in association with the New South Wales Department of Education and in collaboration with Sydney Olympic Park Authority, involves school students from Kindergarten to Year 10 in all NSW schools creating artworks for children in hospital.

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Chief Executive, Dr Michael Brydon, officially opened the exhibition with the help of Bandaged Bear. The day also included family activities and performances by featured artists from a variety of groups including Arts Alive Choir, NSW Public Schools Millennium Marching Band and the PULSE Public Schools Big Band. Photos from the day can be viewed on Operation Art's official Facebook Page.

This year, Operation Art brings 931 artworks from students across New South Wales schools with the sole purpose of creating art to uplift patients in a hospital setting. Among the hundreds submitted, 50 artworks will be chosen to be hung up in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as part of their permanent art collection.

Ivy Baddock, Art Curator at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, led a panel of judges who had the tough role of selecting the Top 50 artworks, "it seems impossible but the standard of artworks produced for the Operation Art exhibition really does improve year upon year. What is most impressive is the diversity of the artistic mediums used and the subject matter depicted, a child’s imagination knows no limits and the results are incredible," she said.

Mark Scott, Secretary of the Department of Education, said “It is heart-warming to see the beautiful artworks produced by our students and to hear of the joy these paintings bring, in what is often a traumatic time for children and their families. The Department of Education is proud to support Operation Art and our students and teachers who help create a healing environment for sick young people.”

An additional 150 artworks will also be chosen for display in The Office of the Children’s Guardian, Advocate For Children and Young People, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) as well as many regional hospitals.

ANSTO's General Manager, Communications and Community Relations, Cassandra Casey said, "Each week we supply potentially lifesaving nuclear medicines to hospitals and medical practices across Australia including The Children's Hospital at Westmead. These nuclear medicines allow our clients to diagnose and treat are range of diseases including heart, lung and muscular skeletal conditions, as well as a variety of cancers, with many sufferers being children. We are proud to sponsor Operation Art which provides such joy and improvement in wellbeing to the young patients at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead."

Tony Nesbitt, the Authority’s Senior Manager, Place Activation and Strategy said, “This is the ninth year that Operation Art has been presented at Sydney Olympic Park; it demonstrates the Park’s commitment to celebrating the creativity of our young people, and has grown into a much loved event on Sydney’s arts and cultural calendar. The Armory Gallery and our riverside parklands offer a perfect setting for the exhibition with plenty of room for growth."

Operation Art is open daily from 15 September to 4 November, 10am to 4pm, at Armory Gallery in Sydney Olympic Park. Entry is free.