NEW FRIENDS: Adie Turner and Esther Sherman were paired up in the billy can art project.
NEW FRIENDS: Adie Turner and Esther Sherman were paired up in the billy can art project. Contributed

Bonds formed over billy cans

WHEN Esther Skerman first heard about the billy can art project, she was sceptical to say the least but she took a chance on the project and hasn't looked back.

"When I first heard about it I thought 'what a silly thing to do' and then I thought 'well, they are nice billy cans and I like to help in any project to help old people - I mean, I'm an old person myself', so I put my name down and also my husband's,” she said.

"I just thought we'd have a go and help with the project, it's no good unless people get involved.”

The billy can art project is a Dalby Welcoming Community initiative funded by an Advancing Queensland Age-Friendly Community Grant from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

The project brought Sunshine Coast artist NicoleVoevodin-Cash to Dalby for 10 weeks to engage seniors in the community through her active art method.

Mr and Mrs Skerman spent weeks carrying their billy cans around their yard while gardening, making multiple colourful designs now hanging on the wall at Gallery 107.

"We were blown away by the work they did at the gallery to make it a very interesting project, you wouldn't believe that those diagrams in the little billy cans could be made to look so lovely,” Mrs Skerman said.

The next stage of the project - and a highlight for many - paired children with one of the seniors to write a short story on their artwork and go for a walk with the billy cans together.

Mrs Skerman said it was a beautiful experience and the best part of the project was being paired with Adie Turner, who she thought got the story just right.

"The children did such a lovely job and it's always lovely having young people mixing with old people, they seem to get along well,” she said.

Dalby Welcoming Community's Beth Wood said the project was about getting seniors more involved and connected in the community.

"It's fascinating looking at them because you can see that every person's billy can art is a little bit different, just like your fingerprint, and then you see a difference in that person's art as they become a bit more active and a bit more involved,” she said.

The billy can art project will be on display at Gallery 107 until September 7.