From dance groups for people with Parkinson's disease to tactile art installations by the visually impaired, a new inclusive cultural program is putting the arts in the hands of the community.
The Community Cultural Inclusion program is run from the Belconnen and Tuggeranong arts centres and encourages community participation in the arts through a number of inclusive programs.
Arts Minister Joy Burch will officially launch the program – which includes a fresh new image and a new website – on Thursday.
''The CCIP has a particular focus of [getting] outside of the doors and the boundaries of the centre itself and into the community and making a connection with people who may be isolated, disadvantaged or disconnected,'' she said.
It has wide-ranging programs which offer a variety of projects to cater to people from all walks of life, such as dance classes for people with Parkinson's, Tuggeranong Arts Centre's tactile art exhibition titled Touch, a music and movement program for family with severely disabled children, drama projects and even arts workshops.
''It's about recognising that arts in all sorts of disciplines is an enormously powerful tool to bring people in and bring people together,'' Ms Burch said.
''The effort is making a connection with those people who wouldn't naturally or normally feel comfortable in walking into a community arts organisation and asking what they have on offer. And also people walking into a centre need to, in many ways, fit into the offerings that the centre has in place.
''What the CCIP does is fit a program around the needs of that community of interest, that collection of people who have a particular need.''
Tuggeranong Arts Centre chief executive Rauny Worm said it was important for the centre to be able to offer inclusive programs to the community.
''We are, by name and by nature, a community arts organisation, and that means it's very important that you actually get your community to participate. And that's what drives us,'' she said.
''It's about engaging, giving everybody the opportunity to participate in the arts because everybody can.''
Margaret Healy, 73, has Parkinson's disease and has been taking part in the Dance for People with Parkinson's class at Belconnen Arts Centre.
''It's such fun and for me, it's been a bit of a challenge as I've not done dancing before and I always feel physically and mentally better when I go away from having our program here,'' she said.
Organiser Philip Piggin, who has a background in dance, said it was wonderful seeing the growth in his students.
''It's been really exciting to see that growth in people's movement confidence and co-ordination and strength, and a comfort with what they're doing,'' he said.
Ms Burch said CCIP aimed to not only provide a creative outlet for people but also improve their health, well-being and social participation.
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