LifestyleArtsJana lives colourfully through artwork

Jana lives colourfully through artwork

Jana Connolly artist
Jana Connolly has created a significant body of work made up of 19 abstract acrylic, pastel and mixed media paintings which will feature in the upcoming exhibition.

As a young woman with Down syndrome, Jana Connolly makes a point of living colourfully and standing out as an artist with a big personality and admirable aspirations.

Some of these aspirations are coming to fruition in the form of Jana’s first major exhibition.

In the past 12 months, Jana has created a significant body of work made up of 19 abstract acrylic, pastel and mixed media paintings which will feature in the upcoming exhibition.

Jana’s work is inspired by her love of family, her environment and her faith.

 “Art is a gift and can be inspired through a dream. This happens when Jesus touches my hands,” Jana said.

As an artist Jana explores such things as the passing of her grandfather, the love of a granddaughter and how to say goodbye.

Jana finds joy and peace in her art.

“When you’re feeling stressed out, pursue some calming art activities,” Jana said.

“Everyone should do art, even family.”

Other inspirations include Jana’s love of superheros and space movies, her desire to live independently and a passion for being fit and healthy while living with type 1 diabetes.

 “The highs and lows of diabetes make me a fighter,” Jana said.

Jana's art passion shines

Jana’s love for art began in Year 10 with encouragement from a special education principal and art teacher who recognised Jana’s gift.

She entered her artwork twice into the Townsville Show, 2017 and 2018, gaining first place for her artwork in her section.

After moving to Bundaberg with her family in 2019, Jana began weekly art session with Jacqueline Read at The Creative Ability Hub. 

Knowing Jana had a goal to evolve her arts practice, Jacqui encouraged and assisted her to apply for an arts grant to enable her to produce a body of work suitable for exhibiting.

Early in 2023, Jana met with Bundaberg Regional Council and Regional Arts Network’s Regional Arts Manger Trudie Leigo to discuss her eligibility to apply for an arts grant through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF)

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

With support and assistance from Jacqui and Jana’s family, Jana was ultimately successful in obtaining a RADF grant through Bundaberg Regional Council and the Queensland Government.

Meanwhile, Jana won first prize in the inaugural Headspace Bundaberg Art Showcase celebrating Youth Week. 

This was a pivotal moment in Jana’s art career, giving her the confidence and motivation to follow through with plans for the current exhibition.

Jana has also received assistance from her family and an enthusiastic team of support workers who have helped prepare for this event which will be another pivotal moment in Jana’s career and pathway to independence.

The event is facilitated by The Creative Ability Hub and will be held at The Book Boutique, Bundaberg.

Opening night is Saturday, 1 June from 6 pm to 9 pm.

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