2023 Operation Art exhibition unveiled

From dancing donkeys to pop art and portraits, the calibre of creativity and talent on display at the 28th edition of the Operation Art Exhibition is at the heart of what makes the initiative so special.

The 2023 Operation Art Exhibition has been unveiled, with more than 700 artworks created by school students from across NSW adorning the walls of the Armory Gallery at Sydney Olympic Park.

Operation Art is one of the most enduring programs promoting arts in healthcare in NSW, encouraging students from kindergarten to Year 10 to design an artwork to help brighten the stay of sick children and their families in hospital.

Fifty of the entries have been chosen for exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales before going on a regional tour of the state, with the final destination being installation at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) as part of its permanent collection.

This year’s judging panel includes 2022 Archibald Prize Winner, Blak Douglas, and representatives from the NSW Department of Education, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, Office of the Children’s Guardian and NSW Health.

Ivy Baddock, Art Curator at CHW, is also on the judging panel and said artworks completed through Operation Art are some of the most beloved at the hospital.

“I am blown away by the calibre of artworks that are submitted to Operation Art each year," Ms Baddock said.

"Operation Art is one of the longest running arts initiatives in NSW and the extensive collection brings so much colour to our hospital’s walls, offering our patients and families respite from the clinical environment."

Heidi Windeisen, Operation Art Officer at the NSW Department of Education’s Arts Unit, said the initiative is a great way for students to find real purpose for their artmaking.

“Operation Art shows how art can help create a healing environment and encourages a spirit of generosity,"  Ms Windeisen said.

"It provides an opportunity for students to reflect on what brings them joy and use that as inspiration to help brighten the stay of those in hospital."

The Operation Art exhibition will be on display at the Armory Gallery every weekend, from 16 September to 29 October 2023, and daily during the school holidays, from 25 September to 6 October 2023. It is open from 10am to 4pm and entry is free.

Operation Art is an initiative of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in association with the NSW Department of Education and in collaboration with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.