The Big Tree Project
A Public Art Project developed with the ORYGEN Health Arts team.
The BIG Trees Project is an initiative of the ORYGEN Health Arts Program which was instigated by Penelope Richardson. The inspiration for this project was the lush gardens, rolling stretches of grass and an abundance of plants, trees and bird and animal life found at the ORYGEN Youth Health Parkville campus.
The intention of the project was to use timber from three dead trees that were due to be felled on the ORYGEN Parkville site to make sculptures to enhance the general amenity of the service and with a distinct focus on developing a non-institutional environment.
ORYGEN also recognises the valuable role that the creative arts can play in the recovery of young people from mental illness through the opportunity for creative expression, the development of interpersonal and social skills, and the chance to learn practical and technical skills.
Sculptor Ben Wrigley established an outdoor studio in the gardens, where young people worked in partnership with Artist Ben Wrigley and clinicians from the ORYGEN Group Program to develop their unique works based on animal themes.
The result is a set of beautifully crafted, large-scale wooden sculptures that will be positioned around both the ORYGEN Parkville campus, and the ORYGEN Footscray campus that houses the In-Patient Unit and crisis response teams. It is anticipated that these sculptures will become symbols of creativity, optimism, and the power of positive transformation for young people and their families. These sculptures will greatly enhance the ORYGEN sites, not only for those accessing the services, but for the broader community within the City of Melbourne.
The ORYGEN ‘BIG Trees Project’ was only made possible through funding provided by the City of Melbourne’s Arts Grants Community Cultural Development Category.
The upcoming BIG Trees Exhibition on September 7th at ORYGEN Parkville will include participation by Councillor Fraser Brindley from the City of Melbourne, as well as attendance by other key City of Melbourne representatives.