Audio and interview by Dominic Brine from ABC Ballarat online:

ABC Ballarat Under the Floorboards art project Aldona Kmiec Photography

With the diverse programs and unique connection with so many parts of our local community, UnitingCare Ballarat sees the world through different eyes.

Through their art project Under the Floorboards, 12 artists will gain insight into UnitingCare Ballarat’s operations and gain understanding of the individuals, communities, and services it provides.

They will then create a representative body of work reflecting that experience.

The UnitingCare Ballarat Under the Floorboards project aims to promote the issues it confronts and the work it does as well as raise money for its services and foster the creation of great art.

At completion of the residencies a series of events beginning in October 2013 will be conducted to show its results, including exhibitions and performances from resident artists, with all money raised from the events and auctions going to UnitingCare.

UnitingCare Ballarat believes in the power and potential of art to enrich the human soul.

Aldona Kmiec

Originally from Poland, Aldona Kmiec is an artist, traveller and photographer based in Ballarat.

She is the first artist in residency during August 2012 spending time across the agency, from the op shop to Lifeline, drug and alcohol withdrawal units to the community transport service.

She’ll produce four mosaic photographic portraits using selected staff, clients and volunteers as the subjects.

“My approach has been to take shots that document the everyday routines of clients, staff and volunteers but to also get to know them. It’s been an eye opener seeing great people care and give their time for others, people are so willing to help me and they’re enthusiastic too.”

Aldona has also spoken with some of UnitingCare’s clients.

“I believe that everyone’s story should be heard and people seem to open up to me, maybe it’s my Polish accent or curiosity but I love that connection.”

Aldona then lets that connection become the basis for the photograph.

“I’ll take a better portrait once we’ve opened up to each other rather than if we hadn’t talked.”

Aldona moved to Ballarat with her Australian partner two years ago because she wanted to live in a cooler climate after initially living in Queensland.

“I love the winters where you can still grow green vegetables and the clear air with no pollution.”

Aldona has won awards including, Winner Honorable Mention – Fine Art category & Nominee in Silhouette category in the International Black and White Spider Awards, finalist AOP OPEN Awards London, and was a Ballarat Arts Foundation photography grant recipient.

The City of Ballarat Arts & Cultural Development is a project partner with UnitingCare Ballarat, extending opportunities for quality arts experiences to all members of the community and providing significant professional development opportunities to local and regional artists.

ABC Ballarat is the project media partner.