Bowral's Empire Walk now features a striking new artwork designed, painted and installed by a former Triple Care Farm student.
The mural features white horses cantering through a night-time ocean scene and was painted by Highlands artist Elli Reinhard while she participated in the art therapy program at Mission Australia's Triple Care Farm in the Southern Highlands.
While Elli always had an artistic flair, it was through the Triple Care Farm art therapy program that she rediscovered her love for painting; an activity that she found helpful during her journey to recovery. The artwork played an important part of Elli's healing journey and preparation for a positive future.
"Being involved in the program really gave me that chance to express myself in a different way and I had that time to sit and paint all day. Instead of talking or sharing my feelings, I could paint something with my counsellor who is the art therapist there and we would just talk about the feeling process," Elli said.
"When I was doing the mural, I had four big boards in my lounge room floor. I had sponges, I had paint brushes, watercolours, everything. I guess painting is a mindfulness activity, it does take my mind off things in that zone."
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The mural will be on display until mid-2020.
Mission Australia's Triple Care Farm program manager Gabrielle Holmes said "like many of our art therapy program participants, Elli has truly embraced the process of putting her heart and soul into experimenting with a range of concepts to create a stunning artwork. You can see her immense talent, hope and healing journey captured in each of the mural's panels."
Elli completed Triple Care Farm's 12-week residential rehabilitation program earlier this year. She is now completing her high school studies at TAFE, while studying forensic science, and would like to become a police officer.
"I am so grateful for my life right now and it all started at Triple Care Farm. I never thought I would be doing art as a job let alone something that I love. Being abstinent from drugs and alcohol and having my amazing friends and everyone in my life, I owe that to Triple Care Farm," Elli said.
In 2019 Mission Australia celebrates the 30th anniversary of Triple Care Farm.
Triple Care Farm is Mission Australia's residential youth alcohol and other drugs program. The service offers both a 28-day withdrawal program and a 12-week rehabilitation program for young people aged 16-24 years. Young people live at the farm while they receive intensive support, allowing them to focus fully on getting healthy again and regaining control of their lives.
Mission Australia program manager Gabriella Holmes has worked at the facility for 19 years and has encouraged the community to donate to support the work at Triple Care Farm.
"Young people who come through Triple Care Farm take the time to slow down, recover and process things they have been struggling with potentially for many years. Throughout my many years at Triple Care Farm, I've seen that the program works. Young people leave with an enormous weight lifted off their shoulders, filled with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. Recovery isn't an overnight thing, but when they leave us these young people have new skills and supports in place so they have every opportunity to thrive in life," she said.
"By donating to Mission Australia, you can provide young people who are going through some of the darkest times in their lives with support and skills to change their future. This includes therapy, individual case management, education and training, residential living skills, a creative arts program and weekend sport and recreation."
To donate, please visit missionaustralia.com.au/spring appeal, phone 1800 88 88 68 or SMS 'Mission' to 0418 985 811.