We had a great response to our Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival events during October 2017! Many thanks to everyone who helped support the events and to all of the people who came along to enjoy them.
The Reclaim Exhibition at the Howgate Community Hub impressed visitors by featuring work from over 50 Forth Valley-based artists, including established artists Lesley Anne Derks, Catherine King and Karen Strang. Styles ranged from photorealism to surreal pieces and highlighted the talent and diversity of local artists, with one visitor commenting “I have been introduced to new artists, a brilliant learning experience for me”. The exhibition was opened by our very own FDAMH Freedom of Mind Choir who performed a selection of uplifting songs to celebrate World Mental Health Day. Participating artist Karen Strang said “Creative practice and sharing ideas is always a positive. As humans we need to express our lives and learn through other’s experiences and this is what art does. It instills a sense of curiosity fundamental to empathising with others in our community . Artists from all walks of life each bring something to the feast . This is about celebration but also reflection. About understanding what it is to be human. Take art and its possibilities away from people and we are left with a void of emotional and intellectual existence. Art is necessary.” A huge thank you to Jim Boyle, Linda McFarlane, Steven Mcrystal, Lynne Knox, Julie Law and Marjory Sime who helped install the exhibition.
To let people get hands on with their creativity we ran two one-off workshops int the Howgate Community Hub: Felt Making expertly led by textile artist Lynne Knox and Story Telling workshop run by local poet and writer Janet Crawford and attended by special guest Emma Mooney. These events were very well attended and comments from participants indicate they will have a lasting impact with many keen to pursue the activities further. Participants particularly enjoyed the relaxing and therapeutic qualities of felting and the opportunity for self-expression, acceptance, sharing and ‘me-time’ offered in the Story Telling event. Comments from workshop feedback include:
“I felt totally at ease, I was able to express myself in a very open way and this has boosted my confidence”
“This has been so relaxing”
“This class has helped me discover a new self-care activity”
“Everyone felt safe to pour out their inner thoughts which was very impressive”
“I felt like what I said mattered”
“Gave some nice perspectives in to how empowering it can be to write”
“I felt accepted, appreciated and heard”
“The facilitator was great! She made it really easy to write”
“I loved being part of a sharing group who learnt from others, I have thoroughly enjoyed my day!”
“I felt very comfortable, the facilitator had a wonderful presence and she gave us lots of fun activities”
“This class has helped me to be more creative – it’s been inspirational”
Our events were completed with a Film Screening at Falkirk Library. A selection of short films were created by FDAMH volunteers, in collaboration with local filmmakers and musicians. The screening showcased various aspects of FDAMH as well as some of the arts programmes including: music, spoken word and drama. These films explore a range of mental health themes and highlight how important the arts are to recovery. If you missed it you don’t have to worry as they are available to watch on the FDAMH YouTube channel.