Winter Arts Project

Helping isolated York residents find inspiration in their city

November 2012 – March 2013

Winter-Arts-MontageThis project ran from December 2012 to March 2013 actively targeting people who are isolated and find the winter months and festive season in York especially difficult. There are particular pressures on those alone and often on a low income at the time when the emphasis is on families and spending money.

We took referrals from agencies we already work with to bring people together to learn creative skills such as drawing, painting, photography and printmaking, creating connections between them through this shared creative endeavour.

The group met at a new city centre studio space recently established by a local highly experienced community artist. The emphasis of the project was on walking around the city together to gain inspiration and ideas for collaborative and personal art work. It is important to encourage people to come out of their homes and connect with the environment and each other at this time when many stay in and become isolated and depressed.

The resulting work was exhibited in the city giving participants the opportunity to feel part of the cultural life of their city and raise awareness within the wider public of the difficulties some residents face over this period and how coming together in creative endeavour can mitigate this as well as serving as a celebration of the talents those marginalised by society.

The most successful aspects of the project:

  • Full active participation by people who are isolated and have mental health issues
  • A supportive relaxed atmosphere with a non-judgemental ethos
  • The sensitive, creative handling of the fight to tackle isolation
  • The stunning artwork produced was expressive and personal
  • Friendships were formed which then continued outside of the group
  • Some of the participants are now keen to continue producing their own personal artwork
  • Three participants went on to sign up for another course with us