Belmont: Uncertain future for art classes at Jacaranda centre

Artist in residence Sheryl Grant displaying 'squiggle pots' with art class participants Jacqui Carrington and Barbara Williams.
Artist in residence Sheryl Grant displaying 'squiggle pots' with art class participants Jacqui Carrington and Barbara Williams.

A BELMONT community centre and its popular art classes face uncertain futures as a funding cut was revealed just weeks before Christmas.

Jacaranda Community Centre receives its funding from the Aboriginal Family Support and School Inclusion program under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, which ends on December 31.

Chief executive Lyndsey Fitzgerald said no evaluation or research was done before she was told in mid November that funding would not continue.

Ms Fitzgerald said she was offered a six months’ transitional or extension period to move members and volunteers elsewhere.

“They’re not toys or furniture to be moved around, they’re people,” she said.

The centre offers art and craft programs, such as their International Day of People with Disability art exhibition last Wednesday.

Artist in residence Sheryl Chant said the displayed works were created during the Wednesday art classes this past year.

“I try and do activities that everyone can do, so they’re inclusive,” she said.

“At the moment, the art class is so popular we’ve had to cap it at about 15 to 20 people and we’ve got a waitlist for next year, which is dependent on funding.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the art program was to showcase the social inclusion for all participants living with or without any disability.

“Social inclusion programs don’t seem to get support or funding,” she said.

Ms Fitzgerald said she would keep fighting for funding but ask the public to assist them to provide for families.

“Food shortage is widespread and it’ll be widespread for Christmas as well,” she said.

Food donations can be dropped off at Jacaranda Community Care on Epsom Avenue, Belmont or call 9477 4346.