Bruce Weber survived a brush with death – now art is giving him new life

His works are among those on the walls of mental health organisation Skylight's new Murray Bridge office.

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If you’ve ever misplaced a button, it might just have ended up on one of Bruce Weber’s artworks.

You might call him an up-and-comer on Murray Bridge’s arts scene, a creator quickly becoming known for taking unremarkable items – sequins, feathers, yes, or buttons – and assembling them into something greater than the sum of their parts.

He came second in an upcycling competition at the Brinkley Reuse Centre just last month for making a drum out of who knows what.

His achievements are more impressive considering how recently he began pursuing his passion for art.

Two or three years ago, he suffered a brain injury that nearly killed him.

During his recovery, he connected with a mental health organisation called Skylight, which runs art groups at Murray Bridge Community Centre and Murray Bridge Uniting Church every week.

“Skylight has given me the message never to give up in life,” Mr Weber said.

“I share that with people: never give up.

“People can all do things if they put their minds to it.”

Now a few of his artworks hang on the walls of Skylight’s new Murray Bridge office, which opened on Friday afternoon.

Skylight staff Alison Beale, Deb Whiting, Kay D’Angelo, Tahnay Fleming, Tess Blackmore and Paul Creedon celebrate the opening of their new office. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Local coordinator Kay D’Angelo said the premises on McHenry Street would serve as a home base for Skylight’s staff as they ran activities at the community centre, migrant resource centre, Uniting church and elsewhere around Murray Bridge.

Skylight CEO Paul Creedon said it had been time for the organisation – formerly the Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia – to put down some roots after operating in the Murraylands for seven years.

“We’re part of this community and want to keep providing services for the community,” he said.

“We believe we can grow our services here, working with the community.”

As well as hosting art and craft activities three times a week, Skylight organises gardening and walking groups on Tuesday mornings, a social and emotional wellbeing group on Wednesday evenings and a Friday afternoon music workshop.

Participation is open to anyone in need of support as they work through mental health issues, whether they are registered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme or not, though places are limited.

Harley Hall performs a Ngarrindjeri smoking ceremony at the opening of the new office, scaring away any negative spirits. Photo: Peri Strathearn.