A collection of student artworks made to bring joy into the lives of sick children will begin a tour of the State following a launch at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The Operation Art Touring Exhibition will be on display at the AGNSW until March 28 before heading to Wollongong, Cowra, Wagga Wagga, Maitland and Port Macquarie.
The 50 artworks will be included in permanent art collection of The Children's Hospital at Westmead after the tour ends.
Operation Art was founded 26 years ago and involves students from Kindergarten to Year 10 creating artworks for children in hospital.
It draws on research that has shown an optimistic outlook reflected in art can help improve a child's wellbeing and play a vital part in the recovery and healing process.
NSW Department of Education's Arts Unit Operation Art Officer Heidi Windeisen said the 2021 touring exhibition was unique because the artworks were influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Operation Art is a program through which students can discover purpose in artmaking by creating works that can promote a feeling of joy to those who spend much of their time in hospitals," she said.
She said it was exciting to see the artworks that had been created by students while many of them were learning from home.
"Many students have created their artworks at home with only materials which were readily available to them, and many have created works as a direct response to their own experiences of isolation," she said.
Westmead Children's Hospital art curator Ivy Baddock had the difficult task of selecting 50 artworks for the touring exhibition.
"I am excited every year to see what the students have created for Operation Art and the impressive standard of work makes my job so much harder," Ms Baddock said.
"The artworks offer patients and their families respite from the clinical hospital environment by helping reduce stress, make our hospitals more welcoming and enhance spaces where quiet moments can occur."
Operation Art is an initiative of The Children's Hospital at Westmead in association with the NSW Department of Education and in collaboration with Sydney Olympic Park Authority.