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16 Dec 2020

Connection through Art

Selwyn Centre ‘My Art Bag’ project offers a ray of light and colour during lockdown

The ‘My Art Bag’ project took place at the Papakura Selwyn Centre during the first COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year. It was a collaboration between the Foundation and Connect the Dots, a charity that aims to improve the lives of older people through creativity. 

‘My Art Bag’ is a creative challenge which involved Selwyn Centre guests participating in a weekly art challenge in the safety of their own home. Different creative challenges were devised by Connect the Dots, and the corresponding bags of resource materials and instructions were delivered to the guests by the Papakura Selwyn Centre Coordinator and her wonderful team of volunteers. Guests then worked on the art in their own time and at their own pace. The artwork was then collected weekly, when a new activity was dropped off to the guests who were self-isolating at home.

Once New Zealand reached COVID Alert Level 1 and the Selwyn Centres were able to meet again, the artwork completed individually by each guest was collated into a larger art piece by the Connect the Dots facilitator and the Selwyn Centre guests and volunteers during the course of a morning. This generated much storytelling, laughter and enjoyment at sharing the artwork, and amazement at how each person’s leaves, flowers and birds were unique and full of personality.

The following is an extract from a letter received from a guest who participated in My Art Bag:

‘A great project to really challenge us. The patterns and colours are so lovely, and the spring flowers and blossoms truly lift our spirits.

‘Thanks so much for the hard dedicated work you have created to keep us connecting, the support and encouragement has been tops.

‘Look forward to our coming together soon.’

Another guest has since bought a sketch pad and pencils as she enjoyed the drawing so much, even though she hadn’t drawn in her previous 91 years!


My Art Bag is a wonderful example of creativity in difficult circumstances and of how creative work can enrich our lives and promote resilience. This project gave our guests an opportunity for connection and creativity during the COVID pandemic, when many seniors were at further risk of isolation and loneliness.

The Selwyn Centres offer weekly get-togethers for the over 65s, providing fun, advice and support in a warm and welcoming environment. Click here for more information on a Centre near you.

For more details on Connect the Dots, visit www.connectthedots.org.nz or email info@connectthedots.org.nz