Former winner of the iCare Shine Arts Prize Alison Packwood from Young is calling on her local fellow artists to enter the annual art competition.
After being involved in a motor vehicle accident 13 years ago, Alison Packwood an art teacher from Young was told she would never walk or work again.
The daughter of a French teacher and metal and woodwork teacher, Alison followed in her parent's footsteps and became an art teacher landing what she called her dream job in 2007 - a permanent position teaching visual arts and design at Boorowa Central School.
According to Alison in the April 2008 school holidays she was travelling home from Sydney when she came across a wall of water on the road leaving her no option but to cross the centre line, tragically this led to her crashing into another motorist head on.
Following the accident Alison was transferred to Westmead Hospital and placed in an induced coma for a week.
She said she had multiple fractures, a collapsed lung, lacerated liver, and a traumatic brain injury. After five weeks at Westmead, Alison spent another three months in rehab in Young.
Alison eventually started back at Boorowa Central School two days a week. Over a couple of years, she got back to four days.
"Despite the tiredness, I love the teaching," Alison said.
"I love the school. The staff are so caring and supportive, and the executive have really gone out of their way to be flexible and meet my needs."
Alison said the four things that keep her together are family, friends, teaching and art.
When icare announced their inaugural Shine Art Prize in 2020 Alison was keen to enter.
Her entry, "April is still the cruellest month", that referenced her physical and emotional changes following a car accident, was the prize's overall winner.
The Shine Arts Prize was developed to showcase the artistic talent of icare's Lifetime Care and Workers Care Program participants to recognise the role of art in maintaining wellbeing.
The theme for this year's Arts Prize is "Where I find hope".
Entries are open to participants in these programs, many, like Alison, with traumatic brain injuries.
Despite her set backs Alison believes that her life has actually become better since the accident.
"I actually think my art got better after the accident," Alison said.
"Before, I only worked in black and white and now I work in rainbow colours - it just happened that way.
"Also, instead of painting things that were pretty or pleasing, I do more emotional, expressive work.
"I guess I'm using it as therapy.
"I get things out of my head and onto paper - it helps me deal with them in some way."
It is not only Alison's art and creativity that she believes has improved since the accident.
"I think my teaching has got better too," Alison said.
"I love the kids and the ideas they have, seeing the lightbulbs go on and getting them to think bigger and enjoy art like I did at school.
"It's hard work but it's so rewarding and makes me so happy when it goes well."
Entries for the Shine Arts Prize open on 1 July 2022 and close 30 September.
An exhibition of the works produced will be held in December or January.
The categories for this year have been expanded to include film and music entries:
The overall winner will receive $2000 and will be offered optional mentoring sessions through Accessible Arts NSW. The winners of the individual categories will receive $1000 each.
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