Are you a young artist? Become a Shepparton pen-pal

By John Lewis

Young artists are being invited to become pen-pals with older residents marooned in aged care centres because of coronavirus restrictions.

Shepparton Art Museum has teamed up with schools project I Wish I'd Asked to send artworks and messages to aged care residents throughout Shepparton.

SAM public programs officer Lisa Linton said each Wednesday a tutorial video would be posted to the SAM website and its Facebook and Instagram accounts for inspiration. Artists can then email SAM their picture with their name and postal address to receive a stamp and standard-sized envelope, together with the name and address of their new pen-pal by return mail.

“Once you receive your stamp and envelope from SAM, fill it with your artwork and a personal message to your new pen-pal. Drop your letter into your local mailbox and wait for a reply,” Ms Linton said.

“Whether it's with a letter, a drawing, a wish, a message, a painting, a photo, every thought will be appreciated. No matter your experience, everyone can be involved in this project,” Ms Linton said.

SAM director Dr Rebecca Coates said the museum's project acknowledged a 1996 work by New York-based artist Yoko Ono called Wish Tree which invited people to write their personal messages of peace and hope and tie them to the branches of a tree.

“The work became a symbol for home in the face of natural and social trauma and disaster,” Dr Coates said.

“Given that our community can't visit the gallery at present, we are taking part of the gallery out to the community instead. This is about little gifts and everyday kindnesses,” Dr Coates said.

Send an email of your artwork and a request for a stamp and envelope to [email protected]

More information at