REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Time to crack out the pencils, art offers therapy and support

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Phillip Pye and Sheree Ridley are providing Wagga Wagga's youth with a way of expressing themselves to educate on the risks of drug and alcohol abuse. Picture: Les Smith

Phillip Pye and Sheree Ridley are providing Wagga Wagga's youth with a way of expressing themselves to educate on the risks of drug and alcohol abuse. Picture: Les Smith

From tackling boredom to a therapeutic outlet for those in need - art is more than just a hobby one uses to pass the time.

In NSW's Riverina it's being used to tackle youth drug and alcohol issues within the Wagga Wagga community.

A series of art workshops are set to be launched this month through the local Community Drug Action Team, giving the city's youth a new outlet for expression.

The classes aim to be a balance between creative freedom and education on positive life choices, says CDAT member and local artist, Sheree Ridley.

If you're a Daily Advertiser subscriber you can read Jessica McLaughlin's article here.

Stephen Williams discovered his artistic ability after a personal tragedy, putting a lot of time and effort in to perfect his work. Picture: Emma Hillier

Stephen Williams discovered his artistic ability after a personal tragedy, putting a lot of time and effort in to perfect his work. Picture: Emma Hillier

Sticking to the Riverina, we meet Stephen Williams, who is drawing incredible pieces of art.

Mr Williams is a C5 C6 quadriplegic, meaning he has no hand or lower body function. But this hasn't been a barrier to his creativity.

He creates detailed graphite drawings, easily mistakable for black and white photography.

"I've been drawing for about six years now, I started because I couldn't get a job due to being in my chair, and this kind of helped me fill the days in," he said.

Art is also being used across the country to help bring in some tourism money and boost town spirit.

The latest addition to Victoria's Silo Art Trail was unveiled this week in the Wimmera town of St Arnaud.

Titled Hope, artist Kyle Torney spent 800 hours creating the depiction of the gold-mining history of the town.

Torney is a sixth-generation resident of St Arnaud who has completed a number murals throughout the town.

"Street art really brings the community together through pride, which I have found through my murals," he said. "I called the silo art Hope, which is reflective of the gold-mining period but also resonates with the current climate."

So, time to get out the pencils?

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