Kids art shines bright in Sydney Olympic Park

Fish, monkeys and even a pair of phoenixes are among the hundreds of fantastic creatures currently lighting up the side of the Pullman Hotel in Sydney Olympic Park. 

The captivating images have all been designed by NSW school students as part of the Operation Art exhibition, an initiative that encourages school students from kindergarten to Year 12 to design artwork for sick children in hospital.

Traditionally the exhibition is held at the Armory Gallery however, with COVID-19 preventing a physical display, organisers came up with the creative new solution.

“We have seen what has been possible with VIVID each year and how well that is received by the public, and we thought that this would be the perfect solution. Light projection gives us the ability to celebrate each of our artists, to show off their artworks while also keeping everyone safe,” said Tony Nesbitt, Manager, Events and Activation at Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

More than 700 artworks were entered in this year’s exhibition from 211 schools around the state, each of the artworks featuring in a rotating display on the exterior of the building for all to enjoy.

In addition to the light display, a number of artworks from this year’s collection have been printed on vinyl barriers and hung at Vaccination Hubs in Sydney Olympic Park; a special treat just for those attending vaccination appointments. All of the artworks have also been curated in an online exhibition

Vaccination worker, Agnes, said the artworks have been a lovely thing to view when leaving work.

"The light projections have been so uplifting at the end of my night shifts."

"My daughter is one of the participants in 2021 and last night, I finally caught glimpse of her work. This is beyond special," Agnes said.

"These lovely artworks are having therapeutic effects far beyond hospitals."

Ivy Baddock, Art Curator at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, said this was exactly what they had hoped to achieve through the new display.

"Artwork in a hospital setting is an important way of helping to reduce stress, make places more welcoming and enhancing spaces where quiet moments can occur."

"We hope that these artworks will have a similar effect for those presenting for their vaccinations, helping to ease what we know is an already stressful time,” Ivy said.

The exhibition will be on display at the Pullman Hotel for the next few weeks and will be available online until 31 December. Following this, the top 50 artwork, as chosen by the panel of judges, will commence a tour around the state before becoming part of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s permanent art collection. 

Operation Art is an initiative of the Children's Hospital at Westmead in association with the New South Wales Department of Education.