• Contact Us
  • Download the App
  • Login

Louise used her NDIS funding to help launch a full-time career as an emerging artist

Louise Marson in her studio holding a hammer to a slab of rock with her assistant dog Penny in her lap

Louise Marson is a My Plan Manager client and emerging artist who has been creating a series of work for her exhibition – running until December – at Melbourne’s Dax Centre.

My Plan Manager interviewed Louise about how she’s used her NDIS funding to develop her skills, launch a career, and achieve her plan goals, and the tips and tricks that every participant can use to make the scheme work better for them.

MPM: We’re excited to talk to you about everything you have achieved since joining the NDIS. Where did it start?

Louise: I joined the NDIS in 2018 after having a seven-year mental illness and disability from an acquired brain injury. A goal in my plan was to develop myself as a professional artist, and the NDIS enabled me to access an art mentor through Arts Access Victoria.

Getting a qualified mentor that knew the art world helped me to focus on developing my practice and build a career quite quickly. Through that, my art became more recognised, which led me to secure an amazing studio space in a purpose-built art precinct called Collingwood Yards. It’s great to have a dedicated studio space amongst a supportive community in Melbourne.

MPM: How has art helped you to live a better life and reach your plan goals quicker?

Louise: Art is my voice and my mindfulness and thus a key to attempting to be healthy. My NDIS plan is integral to providing a path to strive for wellness and be a more functional person – a person who now feels more in control of their life. My earlier series of work expressed how my disability was impacting my life. I was stuck in this unwell frame of mind of isolation through illness, and was able to grow through the support of an art mentor, connections and healing through the art of making. 

Louise and her assistant dog Penny looking up at her wall-mounted artwork 'Shifting Sand' 2021 and 'Rupture' 2021.
Louise and her assistant dog Penny looking up at her artwork ‘Shifting Sand’ 2021 – marble on hand-made mesh substrate (left), and ‘Rupture’ 2021 – marble, slate, Italian smalti on hand-made mesh substrate (right).

How did you get an art mentor funded under the NDIS?

Louise: My art mentor was funded under the capacity building budget in my NDIS plan. She’s building my capacity to live independently and to actively contribute to the community in a meaningful way though my art, which my key NDIS goal.  

MPM: What’s been really important in your NDIS journey that people may not know about?

Louise: I have an awesome GP that recognises the importance of a multidisciplinary team. My GP knows me extremely well and belongs to a community health centre where there’s a team of health professionals under one roof. They have counselling, podiatry, a dietician, and dental services, so it’s like a one-stop shop that I regularly use. You have to have a sense of community and diversity to work for a multidisciplinary practice, so the team actually has similar values, and because of that, they have a real commitment to supporting people in their wellness journey.

To have a one-stop shop is really helpful because the team can tap into my information, and I don’t have to tell my story again and again. It’s succinct, coordinated, thorough and highly professional. If you don’t have a GP that knows you well, and can pick up on subtleties and changes and help you with your NDIS application, you can’t get very far.

The other thing that’s been important is Art Access Victoria, which supports and develops artists with disability. They are and continue to be instrumental in supporting me with my arts practice. Without them I wouldn’t have discovered the NDIS – it’s transformed me from stuck and mentally unwell, to the more functional person I am today.

“I have an awesome GP that recognises the importance of a multidisciplinary team. My GP knows me extremely well and belongs to a community health centre where there’s a team of professionals under one roof. To have a one-stop shop is really helpful because the team can tap into my information, and I don’t have to tell my story again and again.”

– Louise

MPM: What about your support coordinator?

Louise: My community health centre where I see my GP, has an NDIS team Including my support coordinator. My support coordinator knows me and my NDIS plan and puts systems in place so I can actively work towards my NDIS goals.

MPM: What should participants look out for when it comes to a support coordinator?

Louise: It’s important to have a support coordinator who’s competent, has your back and will make your NDIS dollar work the best for you, otherwise your plan can fall down really easily. The NDIS is a complex, confusing area, so if someone is giving you incorrect information or your gut instinct says ‘this isn’t right’, then you really should listen to that. My previous support coordinator was giving me incorrect information and that was really distressing. If something’s not working, then you need to make it known. When you make it known, you’ll make it better.

“It’s important to have a support coordinator who’s competent, has your back and will make your NDIS dollar work best for you, otherwise your (NDIS) plan can fall down really easily.”

– Louise

MPM: What did you do when you realised you weren’t happy with your support coordinator?

Louise: I made a complaint to the NDIS coordinator at my community health centre and that person gave me another support coordinator who understands the system, what money is available, and is willing to advocate for me.

MPM: How has being plan managed helped you to focus more on your artwork and achieving your plan goals?

Louise: I know that I’m in good hands and have outsourced my plan management to experts. If there’s an area that’s underfunded or overfunded, I can easily ring My Plan Manager and they can walk me through that. I don’t have to worry about paying my bills and My Plan Manager makes payment to my NDIS team really quick and streamlined. I know that my team will be paid correctly and efficiently, on time and in a consistent manner.

“My Plan Manager makes payment to my NDIS team really quick and streamlined. I know my team will be paid correctly and efficiently, on time and in a consistent manner.”

– Louise

MPM: Can you tell us about your work and what a typical day looks like?

Louise: I work on my art practice eight hours a day, six days a week and each piece takes approximately four weeks to make – it’s dirty, dusty and time-intensive, but I love it! I use a 1500-year-old art form from the Roman Byzantine era called Ravenna, where each piece of stone is hand cut and tweezered into place. 

I’ve recently finished making a documentary about my arts practice that’s going to be released in November. It talks about my journey to wellness and the part that the NDIS has played in that – because without the scheme I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

A close-up of Louise placing stone onto canvas using a 1500-year-old art form called Ravenna.
A close-up of Louise placing stone onto canvas using a 1500-year-old art form called Ravenna.

MPM: What are your plans and goals for the future?

Louise: I plan to continue in my creative arts practice. I’m so grateful that the NDIS has enabled me to be able to do that, to function at a higher level and contribute to the community in a positive way. This can be hard to achieve when you have a disability, so I’m incredibly grateful to the NDIS.  My life has flourished and has so much more meaning with the NDIS being central in my life.

I’m currently looking for funding for a second documentary that’s in the pipeline about the NDIS and art mentorship, which has been really significant in my wellness journey. You can find out more about me on my website www.louisemarson.com. I’m very grateful for the NIDS and My Plan Manager for making it easier to get to where I am today.

You can find out more about Louise’s exhibition at the Dax Centre (running until December) called Breathe at www.daxcentre.org/louisemarsonbreathe.

Louise Marson standing in front of a pillar that's branded with her exhibition name 'Breath' at the Dax Centre with two of her works displayed in the background.
Louise Marson standing in front of a pillar that’s branded with her exhibition name ‘Breath’ at the Dax Centre with two of her works displayed in the background.

RELATED POSTS:

FEATURED: MY COMMUNITY

FEATURED: MY RESOURCES

You might also like…

Welcome to My Plan Manager’s Parent Blogger Series

Welcome to My Plan Manager’s Parent Blogger Series

Disability affects everyone differently, and no two families are the same. However, parents often play the role of primary carers and #1 advocates in the life of their child. This week, our parent blogger Paige explains the importance that early intervention has played for her son Oaklan, in her words. 

0 Comments

My Plan Manager: NDIS Plan Management