Culture Dose for Kids
An arts engagement program supporting children with anxiety
Culture Dose for Kids (CDK) is an innovative arts engagement program, developed as a collaborative partnership between the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Black Dog Institute. It was established with the generous support from the Jibb Foundation.
Believed to be the first of its kind worldwide, this eight-week program supports children, aged 9-12, with anxiety and those impacted by natural disasters, and their families. Highlighting the therapeutic benefits of engaging with art in a non-clinical setting, CDK explores the transformative power of art in promoting mental health. It emphasises the calming, meditative aspects of art engagement, sparks creative ideas and creates social connections in a peer-group setting to build self-confidence over a period of weeks. It also differs from other art-based programs as it engages children and their parents in two parallel sessions that operate separately and together.
CDK is the culmination of a five-year research initiative. It follows the successful and similar adult program (Culture Dose 2019-2020) and a Sydney-based multi-phase pilot program focusing on young people’s mental wellbeing, held at the Art Gallery between 2021 and 2023. The success of these programs provided clear evidence of CDK’s feasibility with young people and their parents and set in place a blueprint for its broader implementation across regional NSW.
Given the recent and many natural disasters throughout the state and the devastating consequences for regional communities, CDK’s next phase establishes partnerships with regional galleries in Lismore, Murwillumbah, Grafton, Bega, Katoomba and Albury. The program will be delivered at each location, directly drawing on local art collections, providing skills development for local staff to lead sessions for their community, and creating opportunities for meaningful long-term engagement.
The commitment and generosity of the Jibb Foundation has ensured the program will continue into 2024, extending partnership opportunities to many more NSW regional galleries and their communities.
For more information, please visit artgallery.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/programs/culture-dose/for-kids/ and blackdoginstitute.org.au/research-studies/culture-dose-for-kids/