My vision is for ‘Art Shop’ to be a project/room/space that seeks to follow the motto of Caring For Life with all of its heart; to share the love of Jesus in a really specific way – focussing greatly on the creativity and potential of everyone who walks through the door. I really believe that creativity and self-expression is a God-given gift as we are all people lovingly made in His image.
To create an environment in which beneficiaries are able to express themselves in any medium, be it on paper or through paint or stitching, requires courage, confidence and the hope that what you have produced will be accepted and not torn apart by criticism, or even literally ripped up and destroyed, as has happened in the past to so many of the people who attend Caring For Life’s ‘Art Shop.’Abi Mason:- Art Shop Project Leader
In Art Shop every beneficiary is encouraged in any form of creativity, and the courage to take that initial first step. The Art Room is warm and welcoming from the moment someone first walks through the door. Their first impression will be that of colour, warmth, inspiration, light and love. The room is admittedly a bit messy but very much ‘lived in’.
Art Shop is a safe, encouraging, creative, space where everyone is seen as being important and greatly valued. A place where people are encouraged to be creative beyond their wildest dreams – and this can be incredibly therapeutic, as people learn to create beautiful pieces of work, and both learn new skills and develop existing ones.
It is a refuge from dysfunctional homes, difficult surroundings and even voices in one's head. It is so important for people to spend at least a little bit of time in their week creating something lovely, looking at positive and beautiful ideas, and then taking these positive and beautiful thoughts and ideas into the rest of their lives, which can be incredibly dark.
Crucially the project is centered around each individual. We believe that it is better to aim for the highest quality of care, love and attention with smaller groups, rather than be stretched too thin and not be able to care for people well.
To create this type of environment, it is really important to be able to have time to plan, sort etc, photograph and document work.
We would like to have many more people ‘creating’ in the Art Room, but because of the high levels of supervision and support needed on this project, beneficiary numbers have to be limited. Crucial to supporting and helping our beneficiaries is the role of volunteers, without whom this project simply could not function at all.
For art to be truly therapeutic and self-empowering – it needs to be unpressured. Some people like to make ‘gifts’ for birthday presents etc and derive a lot of satisfaction from this.
The Art Room is a place where people feel accepted and able to express themselves, in a safe and happy environment. Having the computer and internet available is very useful for inspiration and instruction.