Stories of Arts and Health

At our 2019 annual conference, we asked attendees to write their stories of arts and health on a postcard, and put it in our suggestion box.

The results are moving and enlightening – we’re happy to be able to share 10 stories with you.

Please feel free to share these images online using the hashtag #storiesofartsandhealth.

Postcard 1

“Parkinsons Dance pilot (5 years ago) – Chap joined Parkinsons Dance pilot having never danced or, in his words, done anything creative. After taking part in the class he believes that it unlocked his creativity & since that first session not only does he now regularly dances every week he writes poetry, creates visual art & collages – which he has then converted into merchandise & sold, donated the profits to the class! (doesn’t quite fit on a postcard!)”

Postcard 2

“I am a self-taught artist who started painting and drawing 10 years ago during a bout of mild depression caused by work related stress/anxiety. I used my time (signed off by my GP) to post work online – I got a commission soon after – and am now freelance. And better :)”

Postcard 3

“Started working as a self-employed Creative Minds artist nearly 2 years ago. Now setting up a well-being venue in Wiltshire with my husband who works for MH charity. Enjoying/surviving ! this chapter in the journey …”

Postcard 4

“A student with LD in my class worked on a self portrait for many weeks with me encouraging him to add detail. Sadly shortly after he had finished his piece of art he died. His mother contacted me and expressed how grateful she was that her son had participate in the art group. His self portrait gave his mother much comfort. As a practitioner I was so grateful I had spent time encouraging him, though some weeks he might have only made 3 marks on the paper.”

Postcard 5

“Journey so far has been move to Devon with elderly (97 year old mother) start a college course full time. I am experiencing anticipatory loss which I understand is ‘normal’. However, it’s a lonely place and isn’t identified in any mental health literature, website or group other than a carer group. Therefore, for me art is crucial to address issues I am experiencing. It was especially relevant when my dad died and my sister in law.”

Postcard 6

“My journey into sharing creativity to help people with their personal wellbeing, sense of self and stronger community, is still growing. I am many things an artist, mother, wife, social entrepreneur but above all I care about people and am passionate about art and creativity.”

Postcard 7

“(The Plough Arts Centre) ‘You have changed my life, I didn’t know what I was looking for until I found Sapta Dance. A chance to express everything inside me, no judgements, no age limits, no barriers. I feel well and happy and creative.’ – Group Contributor following a stroke.”

Postcard 8

“Connected Minds: Dance Partnership project between PDSW, Dorset Mind & Dorset: Chesil Family Partnership Zone. @ Planning weekend with the theme of “Hive” mind, we had young ppl from the FPZ who hadn’t met 80% of the room before. During the introductions the 3 x YP stated things such as: “I don’t like talking to new people”, “I don’t feel comfortable in public,” “I won’t make eye contact with new people” etc. Within 2 hours of dancing, ice-breakers & get to know the YP were talking laughing & making eye contact with a room of “strangers” & infact 1 YP stayed the whole day – 4 hours longer than required!”

Postcard 9

“Art + creativity is magic and transformational. I meet once a month with a group of friends and we share soup together + then do a creative activity chosen by a different person each month.”

Postcard 10

“I have dyspraxia. I am a Biodanza teacher and Inclusive Dance teacher from London. Dance has helped my condition re social skills, coordination and balance. My daughter has Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome and together we run Danzability working with older people and those who have disabilities and mental health conditions. I am passionate about Arts and Health practice.”

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