Micro Grants Recipient | Cara MacLeod
Cara MacLeod lives on Yaegl country in Woombah, Northern Rivers, NSW. With a Master of Teaching from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of NSW, she has worked as an artist, visual arts teacher in schools and artist educator in museums and galleries for 20 years. Currently, Cara facilitates inclusive creative learning experiences for people of all ages and abilities, from young children to older members of our community at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina.
Cara values curiosity and experimentation, listening and reciprocity in her art practice, considering the materials, environment and collaboration as integral parts of the creative process. She uses recycled materials and found images in drawing, painting, collage and sculpture, to investigate underlying structures and share stories of the spaces we inhabit.
Upcoming creative learning programs at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery include collaborative environmental artworks and studio workshops with children for Bright Sparks; supporting young people to create site-specific and participatory artworks that address their social, cultural and environmental concerns for Change Makers and connecting with older local residents and their carers to share stories, memories and creative expression in the socially inclusive and accessible Bold Sparks- Lifelong learning program.
The Micro Grant will assist Cara in delivering Aged Care Art Online – an artist-led program designed to connect an aged care group with a local artist at a time when older people, who are some of the most vulnerable in our community, are unable to venture out due to COVID-19. In addition to an online art workshop, Cara will provide resources to support staff and residents at the Aged Care facility who participate in the program.
Participants will be introduced to the artist and learn about her practice through an introductory letter and a pre-recorded video. Cara will share the ideas and inspiration behind her artworks on display in Seven Creators exhibition at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery and invite the group to share their own stories.
Following this, Cara will demonstrate her techniques and encourage participants to try out new approaches to artmaking in a live, online art workshop. The session will focus on the participants’ own experiences, stories and memories, supporting them to make personal and social connections through art.
This online engagement will give participants an opportunity for creative learning in the safety of their own residence, that is accessible, fun and tailored to their interests and abilities. The combination of video, correspondence and live online interaction is a flexible and responsive format that is accessible for support staff to deliver in their aged care setting. Taking a personal approach and providing additional resources will help to build stronger relationships with this audience and will encourage and support their staff to facilitate other creative learning experiences independently.
Image: Cara MacLeod ‘Hotel Neuhaus’ (2019) mixed media collage on board. Image courtesy of the Artist.