WOW! What an amazing project!
For a bit of backstory - Arts Network has previously worked with young people from NCS:The Challenge. You can learn a little bit about this wonderful organisation and what they offer for young people by following the link. In short, for us it means we end up with a group of pro-active young people who set themselves the task of working together to help raise awareness and funds for our charity.
Our group of young people dubbed themselves 'Colourful Mindz' and you can follow their social network progress with the tag @colourful_mindz. Arts Network met with them to talk about what we do in the community, the key tenets of our organisation and how they can educate themselves and others.
Together we spoke about mental health, what it means to individuals, the importance of transparency when discussing the subject, the significant role art can play in the betterment of one's mental health and then we talked about iconic works that had links and parallels to the theme.
After a lot of research and discussion, together we formed a plan to help spread our message.
The plan had a few specific intentions:
1 - Engage members of the public on as many platforms as possible in order to educate, inform and discuss what mental health means to them.
2 - Let those members of the public know what Arts Network does, where we are, who is eligible for our services and how to access them.
3 - Address points 1&2 in a fun, creative way through the medium we know best; art.
Colourful Mindz found a particular poignancy in Munch's 'The Scream' because of the feelings it emoted and were also drawn to Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' given his famous battle with ill mental health. It was decided that a great way to interact with the public might be to have them take part creating a large scale emulation of one of these pieces of work.
Our project manifested itself as a large-scale, interactive 'paint-by-numbers' display inside Lewisham Shopping Centre. Members of the public were invited to assist the young people of NCS occupy our blank canvas with colour. Whilst contributing to the piece, the public were engaged in discussion about mental health, the value of art to the healing process, the valuable work we do in the community and how to access our services.
Throughout the day, the Colourful Mindz NCS team took over the @artsnetworkLDN Twitter feed to give live updates on the progress of the piece:
It took literally the entire day to finish, but it was a roaring success!
Now the piece is completed, you can witness it in its full glory in the window display at Lewisham Library throughout the entire month of September.
We also have a short time-lapse video of the composition taking shape. You can see it below OR if you wish to see it on a large screen, come pay us a visit at The Green in Nunhead as part of the Nunhead Arts Trail on the 24th and 25th of September.
Motivated by the work we'd completed together, the young people of Colourful Mindz took to Manor House Gardens on a sunny Saturday to talk to members of the public and create a piece of their own:
We'd like to thank all of the young people of Young Mindz and the NCS, the public of Lewisham, the kind staff at Lewisham Library and Lewisham Shopping Centre and the lovely staff at Cowling & Wilcox Camberwell for their help.