Local artist Siri Sparkes is paving the way for young creatives in town, as she will soon have an artwork she created displayed at The Children's Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.
The Gunnedah South Public School student's artwork 'The Carnival', along with 50 others, was chosen out of almost 500 entries selected to be hung in the hospital as part of its permanent art collection.
These 50 works will also be on display at regional galleries in a touring exhibition next year.
The annual exhibition, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, features almost 500 artworks from students in Kindergarten to year 10 at schools across NSW, created with the aim of using art to bring joy to sick children in hospitals.
Operation Art Officer at the NSW Department of Education's Arts Unit, Heidi Windeisen, said this year's exhibition was made more significant because of the impact of the pandemic.
"Operation Art is a program that many schools have been engaging with since its inception 25 years ago," Ms Windeisen said.
"Each year teachers know they can inspire their students to create artworks for sick kids in hospital, to give purpose to their work and understand that visual arts can promote a feeling of joy to those who spend much of their time in hospitals."
She said it was exciting to see the artworks that had been created by students while many of them were learning from home.
"Many students have created their artworks at home with only materials which were readily available to them, and many have created works as a direct response to their own experiences of isolation," she said.
Westmead Children's Hospital art curator Ivy Baddock had the difficult task of selecting 50 artworks for the hospital's collection.
"I am excited every year to see what the students have created for Operation Art and the impressive standard of work makes my job so much harder," Ms Baddock said.
"The artworks offer patients and their families respite from the clinical hospital environment by helping reduce stress, make our hospitals more welcoming and enhance spaces where quiet moments can occur."
Operation Art is an initiative of The Children's Hospital at Westmead in association with the NSW Department of Education and in collaboration with Sydney Olympic Park Authority.
Operation Art is open daily from October 15 until November 15, from 10am to 4pm at Armory Gallery, Sydney Olympic Park. Entry is free.
Visit the Sydney OIympic Park website for details on the exhibition at https://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/Whats-On/art-and-culture/operation-art