Art In Mind was started in 2004, a joint venture between Arran Visual Arts and the Community Mental Health team who make the referrals to the group. It has been funded by the Awards for All Lottery fund, The Robertson’s Trust, and The Weir Foundation, as well as supported generously by local Arran residents. More recently it has raised its own funds through the sale of cards and paintings.
Art in Mind is a weekly Art group for residents of Arran suffering from Mental Health conditions. It meets in the Ranger Centre at Brodick Castle and qualified artists act as Tutors. People with a mental health problem, who are interested in Art are offered the group and referred by the Community Psychiatric Nurse.
The main aim of Art in Mind is to reduce social isolation, providing a safe and relaxed environment where people can socialise, while being creative. Over the years, this has increased the confidence of individuals attending, and enhanced their feelings of well-being. There is no time limit, so some people have been coming for the fifteen years, others come and go, but they all know that the door is open for them to return.
Felicity Walker, a professional artist who comes over from the mainland twice a month, and Gordon Davidson, a local artist, teach, help and support group members with their artistic efforts. Some of the members work can be seen at the annual exhibition in Lochranza Hall and also over the winter at the Distillery.
There is a relaxed, friendly and sometimes really industrious atmosphere, not to mention frequent doses of laughter! Time can be spent in group activity and doing your own ‘thing’, with Felicity or Gordon nearby for help, support and advice – often achieving great results.
A very important aspect of Art in Mind is often people can feel ill, low, scared and very alone, but on making what can be a very real effort to come to the group the atmosphere is such that you can come away feeling you’ve achieved something that day, and maybe not so alone.
When asked what people enjoy most recently, answers included:
- “Creativity and Inspiration”
- “The people, company and encouragement”
- “Sense of achievement”
- “Reason to get out of bed”
- “It is a safe place to come”
- “The art”
- “Even when I am feeling down, I know I can come and people will understand”
- “Nobody judges you”
When asked if the group helps them in their daily life, some said:
- “Opens mind to other things – translates to general life”
- “Learning from others”