Miss Melinda Alushaj, Community | Consumer Engagement1 & Miss Kerry Blake, Art Therapist1
1 Uniting Residential & Health Care
The Atrium Installation is an innovative solution to a Residential Age Care Facilities’ aesthetic challenges coupled with a unique artistic project supporting CALD beliefs and identity, with ongoing benefits. We sought to devise a culturally specific project to enhance the site and improve the visual impact of a difficult outlook, onto brick walls and windows. We also took the opportunity to boost residents’ creativity, encourage engagement and increase the focus on residents’ capacities. The benefits of this project are ongoing, as artworks are changed according to seasonal and cultural celebrations, reflecting Chinese ‘folk traditions’, and western Christian traditions, as many older Chinese residents embrace both eastern and western beliefs.
The Atrium Installation is a project with three parts. Firstly, with the design and construction of the installation device; Secondly the initial art project ‘Chains of Silver’ run in conjunction with the Community Artist and Art Therapist implemented over a ten-week period; and Thirdly, the ongoing project space where the Art Therapist and RAOs devise and instigate art projects then generated by residents themselves, and occasional family members, often using industrial discards and/or recycled materials.
Melinda has worked within the Aged Care sector for more than 20 years as a Diversional Therapist. She is passionate about consumer experience and engagement and ensuring that the person is the centre of everything we do. Melinda has been with Uniting for five years overseeing the Sydney South East region specialising community and consumer engagement.