Operation Art

OPERATION ART is the premier state wide visual arts exhibition for students from Kindergarten to Year 10. It is a unique, contemporary children’s exhibition that attracts public support from the government, health and education sectors and the wider community. It has gained widespread recognition for its standards of excellence and the development of such rich diversity unparalleled in children’s art.

OPERATION ART – a unique approach

Operation Art started 14 years ago under the auspices of Dr John Yu, then CEO of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead who wanted to create a positive environment to aid the recovery process of young patients. He suggested that school students become a part of the special work at the hospital and create artworks for children in hospital. It was to enable all children to become pro active in the lives of other children through their artmaking. Operation Artworks are now hung as part of the permanent collection in the hospital alongside those of artists of renown and these works have quickly become some of the most popular with visitors.

Artists at Gallery Choir at Opening 

Children, of all ages, enjoy opportunities to give to others. Sometimes it’s creating artworks while other times it is singing. These young artists, in recognition of their creativity, had their artworks selected for the annual tour to regional galleries. A tour which showcases the standards of excellence of visual arts education within our schools before these same artworks return to become part of the permanent collection at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Unique Leadership

OPERATION ART educates and provides leadership in the nurturing and development of innovative, original thinkers. It expresses a commitment to the creative growth of a new generation.

Artist and Artwork A Very Special Person

True satisfaction comes from seeing your artwork hanging on the walls in the hospital where it helps to make the lives of young patients, their families and staff a little brighter. If you were once a patient then your satisfaction may be greater still!

Regional hospitals and other children’s support agencies soon recognised the value of this unique visual arts experience and were soon queuing to obtain these outstanding artworks.

The Art Gallery of NSW also acknowledged the uniqueness of this children’s visual arts exhibition and exhibited their first Operation Art in 1994. It is now exhibited in one of their most prominent public spaces.

Operation Artworks have also travelled internationally with several of the artworks being chosen annually to become part of a sister city art exchange with Nagoya alongside works from Los Angeles, Mexico City and Nanjing. Operation Artworks have also been exhibited in Ankara, Turkey.

The Official Opening held at the Penrith Regional Gallery on 5th July 2008 had over 3200 guests to view the 671 artworks in the exhibition. 1800 students and teachers attended specialist visual arts workshops throughout the 6 week exhibition with more than 7000 visitors.

 Opening Crowd Opening Crowd 

Proud families attend official gallery openings across the state. Many are first time visitors into this amazing new world of art. Oh, what an introduction!

50 art works have been selected to become part of the Permanent Collection at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. These works were shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales 23 September – 5 October 2008 and will tour regional galleries as the Nelson Meers Foundation 2009 Touring Exhibition.

Artist & Friend NMF Senior Winner 2008 Everyone Enjoys

Charlie Delaney (from HiFive) celebrity and Goodwill Ambassador for the hospital opened this exhibition.

Educational Advantage

2000 students annually attend over 80 possible specialist workshops at metropolitan and regional galleries.

300 teachers annually attend training and development workshops with specialist visual arts teachers.

Teachers Resource CD with over 150 visual arts lessons with outcomes and sequence of learning linked to the current syllabus.

Showcasing the standard of excellence of Visual Arts K-10 in NSW schools.

Cultural Environment

OPERATION ART provides opportunities for a thriving cultural environment:

Public awareness of the therapeutic importance of visual arts to young patients in hospital.

Identifying commonality and promoting understanding and well being of the individual.

Emphasising the value of visual arts within a tolerant and compassionate society.

Enabling innovative, young artists to be proactive in their future.

Social Benefits

Provides a point of differentiation through associated values of individuality, creativity and excellence.

Recognition for young artists of their unique contribution and support within their  families and community.

Satisfactory relationship building and networking opportunities.

Reinforces values to regional communities and challenges geographic disadvantage.

Community sustainability through personal achievement regardless of social, financial and educational disadvantage.

Bandaged Bear Hug   Bear Hug Fiona & Bandaged Bear

Everyone enjoys a Bandaged Bear Hug!

NMF Touring Exhibition Schedule

The tour is run annually and this years schedule can be found at:  



2010 Art Gallery of NSW, Wollongong City Gallery, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, New England Regional Art Gallery, St George Regional Museum,

2009  Art Gallery of NSW,  Coffs Harbour City Gallery, Grafton Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Penrith Regional Gallery, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW, Wollongong City Gallery

2008 Art Gallery of NSW, Shoalhaven City Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Orange Regional Art Gallery, Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Dubbo Regional Art Gallery, St George Regional Museum

2007 Art Gallery of NSW, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Lady Denman Heritage Centre, Wollongong City Gallery, Hawkesbury Regional Art Gallery

2006 Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Kid’s Museum,  Lady Denman Heritage Centre, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Coffs Harbour City Gallery, Grafton Regional Art Gallery

2005 Art Gallery of NSW, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Wollongong City Gallery, Dubbo Regional Art Gallery, Shoalhaven City Gallery, Penrith Regional Gallery, Tamworth Regional Art Gallery, Albury Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

2004 Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Kid’s Museum, Dubbo Regional Art Gallery, Wollongong City Gallery, Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Manning Regional Art Gallery, Coffs Harbour City Gallery, New England Regional Art Gallery, Seymour Centre

2003 Art Gallery of NSW, Wollongong City Gallery, Orange Regional Gallery, Maitland Regional Gallery, Moree Regional Gallery, Penrith Regional Gallery, Grafton Regional Gallery, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery,  New England Regional Art Gallery, Seymour Centre

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