11 December 2014

Every picture tells a story


With every negative, I try to find a positive. For example, a while ago I broke a mirror! Bad - right? Well yes, until I realised the fact that even though I have lost a mirror, I have just gained a frame.

The idea of "Fresh Art" came from my own experience at Hillview Lodge in Bath. Art had always played a large part in my life and being faced with sun bleached reproductions of famous artist's works hanging on the walls there was dispiriting.

I came up with the idea of creating new, original stimulating pieces of work as a kind of 'give back' scheme. Many of us feel after all the help we have received, we would like to give something back that would benefit not only other patients, but also staff.
The idea was simple. We would create new stimulating Fresh Art! Once hung, the art could provoke interest and conversation about the subject matter. For example, someone could say "I like this because" and this could lead onto the expression of feelings and emotions that may not have arisen previously.

The project has done more that provoke a few conversations!

At first, the idea was to create six pieces of art to replace the dull prints. We set out to do this with great help from Sarah Parkingson the resident Art therapist at Hillview, Ralph Lillywhite from St Mungo's and Phillipa Foristry from Creativity Works.
Together, we applied for funding for materials and framing through St Mungos and AWP Charitable Funds. We were delighted to also receive enough funding from other groups to extend the project further.

Rather than creating six pieces through Fresh Art, the group have managed to exceed all expectations by producing over 60 photographs, drawings, prints, paintings and much more. With support from everyone, and Camilla Nelson from Creativity Works, the artists also had the opportunity to display their work at the Bath Arts Festival (FAB2014).This amazing output was inspired in part by the generosity of the Herschel Museum, No.1 Royal Crescent, the Holburne Museum, the American Museum and Buildings of Bath collection, who kindly lent artefacts to inspire new work and also use of their facilities to create the work in a safe and supportive environment.

I believe that the artists have achieved confidence, responsibility and most of all pleasure from their work and the feedback from family, friends and carers. The group have been able to express themselves through art, for themselves and others to enjoy. This has has helped towards their own well-being and hopefully the well-being of people who have had to use the facility's at Hillview Lodge.
I am happy to say that some of the pictures are now on display on Sycamore Ward and others are on loan to the Art at the Heart Foundation. Carrying out their intended purpose to create a positive when sometimes you are only faced with negatives.

You can Follow Fresh Art on Twitter @FreshArtBath.

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