Ashley’s Art Circle journey

DATE: 3 April 2016

Ashley’s Art Circle journey
Ashley is a young woman who has recently moved to Melbourne from rural Victoria and has now found a place where she believes she can be herself and fully express who she is – at Yooralla’s Art Circle.

Moving to the city is a dream young people all over the world share. After experiencing hardship and the limited opportunities that can come with growing up in a rural town, Ashley set out to make a positive change in her life and moved to Melbourne.

While it hasn’t been an easy journey, Ashley has found a place where she believes she can be herself, and fully express who she is – at Yooralla’s Art Circle, part of the Arts and Recreation service offered across Victoria.

Ashley initially connected with Yooralla through attending the Kew East Community Hub. While she enjoyed her time at the Hub and the company of her peers, Ashley wanted to explore her creative talent. Yooralla staff supported Ashley to explore other avenues and it wasn’t long before she joined the Art Circle where she began to truly flourish.

“My favourite thing about Yooralla’s Art Circle is the support and having the right of will to do what I want to do,” says Ashley. “Art Circle has shown me the right places; they’ve pointed me in the right direction and given me all the support.”

According to Yooralla’s Art Circle Manager Melanie Cass, the program operates with the aim of “empowerment through expression”. The program recognises how important it is to provide skill based education for the artist, who may not have experience art education in the past, to support their confidence and technique in expressing themselves exactly the way that they want.

Yooralla offers participants a wide range of artistic opportunities including painting, drawing, film, photography, print making and sculpture classes, as well as supporting participants to undertake any new artistic feats that may want to try.

“I’m going to be doing a silver-smithing course,” says Ashley. “I’ll learn to make jewellery and shields and daggers, with gemstones. Cool things like that.”

The dedicated staff encourage artists to seek new sources of inspiration, by visiting galleries and exhibitions. In the past, Ashley never had the opportunity to visit an art gallery.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to visit exhibitions in the past, but that’s something that’s changed heaps. It’s been a big thing for me to even get out of the house after what I’ve been through,” says Ashley.

“I went to an exhibition that broke my heart. It was by Richard Mercer at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), and it was about all the murder of people in Africa and about the people having a hard life compared to what we have and how ungrateful we are. It was very touching.

Currently, Ashley is using the skills she has learnt at Art Circle to put together a portfolio of work for evidence of what she can produce, so that she may one day use it as to get into a TAFE art course and take her passion further.

“I’m putting together a portfolio of my artwork so that I can show people what I can do,” says Ashley.

Yooralla’s Art Circle offers a range of opportunities for artists with or without disability in group settings, or with one-on-one support.

Learn more about Yooralla’s Art Circle and Yooralla’s Arts and Recreation programs.

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