Dubbo teens changing lives through art

A GROUP of troubled teens can feel better about themselves now that they've vented about life's hardships on a painted canvas.

The six students who took part in Talking Through Art, a joint initiative by the Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre (DNC) and Dubbo College Senior Campus, have completed their six-day art project.

The students learnt from Aboriginal artist and youth worker Tom Sloane who taught them how to express their feelings through art.

Mr Sloane said it was great to help younger people finally feel accepted.

"I couldn't get two words out of one of the students, and now that she's painted a snake she feels more confident within herself," he said.

"I've loved getting to know these kids, and watched how they've expressed themselves through art. Some have gone through such significant trauma and I'm priviliged to be part of their recovery."

At first, he said the students were reluctant to share their problems with the group, but all made a breakthrough halfway through the program.

"The students didn't have much exposure to art and I'm glad I introduced them to this experience," he said.

Student Wendy Parsons, said she hoped the program would be a boost to her confidence.

"There's often a misunderstanding of snakes and many people don't know that they're quite shy animals. After I finished drawing the snake, I feel more confident and I can talk to other people now," she said.

Young Laura Morrissey painted an owl, which signified her late grandmother.

"My illustration showed my journey through hardships I went through when my grandmother died," she said.

"It showed the amount of support I got from friends and family, as they helped get me to a place of belonging."

DNC youth outreach advocacy support worker Alca Simpson said the project lets young people express themselves.

"This will leave a legacy for others that may force challenges to always remember places like the Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre, exist to help people get through those challenges," he said.

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