As the year comes to a close we want to send out our warm thanks to Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus Arterie volunteers. Arterie is an art in healthcare program at Chris O’Brien LIfehouse which was founded by Deborah Burdett and Amanda Solomon. Each year Deborah talks to the students about the program and asks for volunteers to take part. Volunteers sign up to be part of the pit crew. Arterie is a program that uses qualified, practicing artists to enhance the Lifehouse experience for patients, visitors, staff and caregivers, and the behind the scenes people that support the artists are known as pit crew.
The collaboration with Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus started when Deborah contacted her old school friend Sunny South, who was a librarian at the school. A collaboration that gives the volunteer students a real sense of fulfilment was born. Students have their perceptions of illness changed and as they often come from different groups within the school they end up mixing with people they wouldn’t usually.
Not all volunteers are art students. However, all students are welcome to join the program. The program is in its third year and 10 year 10 students sign up for the whole year. They are required to make up the school work that they miss in their own time. They never mind, the students love the interaction with all the walks of life that they come across at Lifehouse. A typical afternoon might involve cutting, collating, trialling new arterie projects, packaging art products for patients or they might sit with the artist in residence and learn a new skill.
Arterie would like to thank Frida Knocke and Roula Sfeir for their ongoing support and commitment to the program. Frida has been on her gap year and her volunteering with the Arterie program was an enhancement to her recent application to study an arts degree. We will miss her involvement and thank the class of 2016 students.