By Petrina Wright | Posted: Tuesday March 7, 2023
Art panels which had once surrounded the Invercargill CBD development have been given a new lease on life for the benefit of Southlanders living with dementia.
A selection of the art panels have been repurposed as vibrant fencing along the northern border of Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) Enliven’s dementia garden at Peacehaven, adding colour and interest to the space.
Last year, Enliven revamped the garden with funding from Perpetual Guardian – the Stewart Family Charitable Trust and James Stewart Memorial Fund. A large wooden deck had been built to give access into the garden and walkway area, complete with new outdoor furniture. This had provided a safe, inviting and stimulating outdoor environment for residents and their families to enjoy.
PSS property and procurement manager Mark Dowling said when he found out the art panels had become surplus to requirements, he thought installing some of them around the garden would not only further enhance the space, but also give an opportunity for the artworks to be enjoyed by the staff, residents and their families.
“I wanted to make the space interesting and quirky, and paintings are something our dementia patients can identify with.”
He approached Invercargill Central, which then reached out to the artists, who agreed to donate panels to the project.
The panels had been installed with some blank ones scattered amongst them, providing an opportunity for residents and staff to create their own designs.
“We have some very talented artists working with us in our dementia unit,” he said.
Mark was proud of what had been achieved in making the garden more accessible and inviting for the residents.
“It is having a positive impact on the quality of our residents lives.”
Peacehaven Village manager Ronette Bolivar thanked Invercargill Central for its support for the project.
Residents and staff had used the garden much more since the new deck and garden area had been developed, and the addition of the panels had given the space colour and life, she said.
Invercargill Central marketing manager Rebecca Sheppard was pleased the panels had been utilised.
“It is so great to see a second life for these panels for such a great cause,” she said. “We are very thankful and excited that they are here.”
The initial concept to invite the community to decorate the panels around the perimeter of the CBD development was proposed by the Neighbouring Retail Group (NRG).
The project received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, with more than 150 schools, community groups and individual artists taking part in creating more than 250 panels.