INSPIRED ARTIST: Hervey Bay artist Corrinne Russell-Osburn with her painting End of the Rainbow at Lapunyah Art Gallery.
INSPIRED ARTIST: Hervey Bay artist Corrinne Russell-Osburn with her painting End of the Rainbow at Lapunyah Art Gallery. Brooke Duncan

Exhibition aims to raise awareness of autism

LAPUNYAH Art Gallery is open for 2018, and it's kicking off the year with a one-of-a-kind exhibition.

Sensory Playlist by Corrinne Russell-Osburn is an exhibition aimed at raising awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorder through encouraging the audience to see, hear, and touch the art.

Artist Corrinne Russell- Osburn said the exhibition incorporates music to engage viewers.

"The viewer comes to the artwork, puts on the headphones, listens to the piece of music but can also touch and interact with the art,” Mrs Russell-Osburn said.

"In doing that, in putting the headphones on and listening to the music you have a real chance to fully focus on those senses, focus on the hearing and the touch and your own emotion, it produces an emotional engagement with the work that otherwise isn't as much there.”

Mrs Russell-Osburn was inspired by her son who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and was non- verbal until the age of five.

"In an attempt to encourage him to not only speak but to engage with the world, and with me, with anyone, I started to develop art that he could listen to, put music to, and also touch because we'd gone to an art gallery and he couldn't understand why he couldn't touch it, and I wanted to open that up,” she said.

The exhibition was first displayed in Hervey Bay, where Mrs Russell-Osburn said it was very well received.

"We had a huge number of people through, and a large number of disability groups through, and they loved it, it reached people and engaged people of all ages,” she said.

"The classical style of the art as well as the modern music encourages all the ages to get into it, and it breaks down the barriers that are perceivably there.”

Lapunyah Art Gallery director/secretary Helen Dennis said it was the type of art they were looking for.

"Lapunyah is always looking for exhibitions that go beyond what you would normally expect to see in an art gallery, and with the combination of the visual arts with music and with the senses and touching... most artists will say no to anyone touching their works, but to have an artist who's actually willing to let people use all of their senses in viewing their exhibition is highly unusual and I think it'll be a fabulous thing for people of all ages, and people of all abilities to come and view,” Mrs Dennis said.

Sensory Playlist is open from January 13 to February 22, and an art workshop outlined by Mrs Russell- Osburn will be run for primary and secondary students on January 13.