Arts: The Value of Connecting

Our arts centre, your arts centre

At the centre: the value of connecting

Our vision at Arc is of healthy and happy communities, in which people achieve sustainable wellbeing and are inspired and connected by shared creative experiences, and Arc has a long track record of producing transformational arts projects which engage and include marginalised people, promote wellbeing and recovery from mental ill-health that reach thousands of audiences across the North West from our base in Stockport, a gallery and arts centre.

We aim to reach the most vulnerable, recognising the value of creativity to self-worth, resilience and confidence. Because at Arc we understand the value of connectivity.  Every day we see how the arts bring people together, enabling us to find strength in ourselves and each other. By connecting through creativity, we support each other and develop a genuine sense of belonging.  This has a profound impact on our mental health.

Unlocking Creativity: Transforming Lives

We see creativity transforming lives people being inspired to flourish, to express themselves, to be more confident and articulate.  And we want to be a voice for this aspect of mental health, as we know that there is huge power in being given the space to tell your story and to listen to others’. Exploring and sharing narratives help us make sense of our experiences and our world, reinforcing that we are not alone.

We want to improve mental health, to design and deliver creative programmes which reach vulnerable, isolated adults and young people, helping them to build emotional resilience and create the networks they need to live independently. 

As an example, we are currently running a series of Creative Mums projects in Stockport for mums who are struggling with perinatal mental health issues.  In this they work with an artist, in a safe environment where they are not judged and where their children are cared for. This time for themselves and time to be creative is immensely beneficial to their wellbeing. In the most recent evaluation, 100% of participants stated that the group made them feel less isolated and more confident.

We thrive when we work in partnership, developing strong cross sector working and collaborations with those who share our values.

We feel it is important to connect our participants to broader cultural experiences and opportunities, showing that by being part of Arc you are part of something much bigger.

“My box represents what lights up my life. It displays my current passions and future ambitions.” -Participant, Box 142

The ‘We Are Dreamers’ project, which was part of Stockport Remembers in 2018, really expressed this. Participants of our wellbeing programmes exhibited work alongside hundreds of others including artists, schools and community groups.

“’We Are Dreamers’ evolved into the largest immersive community installation ever to be staged at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery.” -Alison Farthing, Team Manager, Strategic Projects, SMBC

We are creating a sense of belonging, by addressing the effects of loneliness, poverty & isolation, providing services which connect people, and developing safe, welcoming, inclusive spaces.

As well as our wellbeing programmes, we have developed the Arc Centre & Gallery into an inclusive community hub, supporting and supported by vulnerable people.

Our public creative programme of art workshops and training invites everyone to connect with us – and this year hundreds of people have visited to take part in workshops, view exhibitions, attend networking events and play at our Saturday Art Clubs

“Warm welcome, lovely people, great space, imaginative art activities, chilled atmosphere, highly recommend.”

We also offer projects in several neighbourhoods, working with partner venues across Greater Manchester.  We design high quality projects which culminate in communal events and shared experiences. Our Love Letters project in Oldham has engaged over 400 residents so far, asking them to express how they feel about their town.  This work celebrates our connection to place, creating a really tangible sense of belonging.

 

So what can you do? 

Well, here are 3 things YOU can do right now to connect with us:

  1. Watch & share our recent film – which we feel really captures the essence of our arts and mental health work. I challenge you not to be moved by it! So, watch it – and send the link to your friends 🙂
  2. Follow us on a social media channel of your choice such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram – share our posts, comment if you feel inspired, connect us to your world…
  3. Donate if you can. We’re a small, local charity, always in need of financial resources in order to deliver the work you saw in the film.

We hope that by connecting with us, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the impact of what we do and that you’ll be a part of our shared story.

Jacqui Wood, Artistic Director, Arc