You may have seen the new bright and beautiful beehives in Satoyama Way, courtesy of contributions from the talented students from Ripley Valley State Secondary College (SSC).
Ripley Valley SSC students swapped their pens for paintbrushes as part of a new art program, aimed at empowering youth through creativity.
The six-week art program saw students in Years 8, 9 and 10 paint and decorate three of our native beehives under the tutelage of professional artist Lisa Kelly, whose artistic practice seeks to combine nature with mental health and wellbeing.
We got in touch with Lisa and Ripley Valley SSC’s Guidance Officer Janet Ingram to find out more about the project.
How did the art program come about?
Janet: The program was the result of a partnership between Ripley Town Centre and Ripley Valley SSC, and was designed to use art as a medium to help young people learn about life, wellbeing and positive mental health.
Students who participated in the art program contributed to the evolution of the beehive project once a week, while learning about the importance of pollinators and their role in supporting the Ripley region’s rich biodiversity.
What was the main benefit of the program?
Janet: Over the six weeks, our students had a unique opportunity to connect with other local community members and mentors, strengthen their sense of belonging, and learn new art skills and techniques. In this space, they showed confidence and we saw them at their very best.
Lisa: By empowering the students to create, share their stories and express themselves, they were provided with a wonderful opportunity for their own self-development as artists and people, and to help them to be leaders and help others.
How can art help improve mental health and wellbeing?
Lisa: Art is an incredibly healing form of expression, and connecting with any art form or material unconsciously places us in a space of reflection and can serve as a break from outside stressors.
Janet: The concept of ‘flow’ as a method of increasing happiness and satisfaction, and being completely present in the moment was what we were very interested in. This was a key focus of the art program and hugely beneficial to the students’ mental wellbeing.
What was your highlight from the program?
Lisa: The students are incredibly inspiring and the beehives are a cohesive and delightful set of works that the students can really be proud of. I’m very grateful to have been part of this project and to get to know the extremely talented young people who participated.
Janet: The students really appreciated working with a professional artist and on behalf of the College, we would like to thank Ripley Town Centre and Lisa Kelly for this amazing experience for our students, and we look forward to working with them again in the future.
Now complete, the native beehives can be seen in Satoyama Way.
These beehives will complement a further six colonies of honeybees that have been introduced to Ripley Town Centre to enhance the environmental, economic and health benefits for the Ripley community.