A collection of student artworks made to bring joy into the lives of sick children is now showing at Wollongong Art Gallery.
It includes works by students from Dapto, Figtree and Kiama high schools as well Primbee Pubic School.
The art of Ruby Tozzi (Figtree), Emily Keith (Kiama), Amara Newbury (Primbee) and Tahlia Gold (Dapto) was among the 50 artworks from almost 500 entries selected for the Operation Art Touring Exhibition.
The exhibition has been on display at the AGNSW from March 28 before heading to Wollongong, Cowra, Wagga Wagga, Maitland and Port Macquarie.
The 50 artworks will be included in permanent art collection of The Children's Hospital at Westmead after the tour ends.
Whitney Verzosa said her 12-year-old daughter Amara Newbury loved creating her art piece Splat the Dog.
"She especially loved the fact it would hopefully brighten the day of sick kids," Ms Verzosa said.
"Amara has always loved art and craft and she had so much fun creating this piece."
Operation Art was founded 26 years ago and involves students from Kindergarten to Year 10 creating artworks for children in hospital.
NSW Department of Education's Arts Unit Operation Art officer Heidi Windeisen said the 2021 touring exhibition was unique because the artworks were influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Operation Art is a program through which students can discover purpose in artmaking by creating works that can promote a feeling of joy to those who spend much of their time in hospitals," Ms Windeisen said.
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."
Westmead Children's Hospital art curator Ivy Baddock was one of the judges who had to select the 50 artworks.
"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."
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