Art and Creativity
As we have expanded the range of services on offer at Mustard Tree over recent years, we have been keen to build an emphasis on creativity; we consider it to be one of the key strands of the work that we deliver. We firmly believe that creativity is a key human trait and that the opportunity to express it can be highly therapeutic and an important element of rebuilding lives.
Our Creative Programmes Manager, Graham Hudson, oversees our creative activities. Graham’s artistic talents, approachability and care for individuals have enabled a space to be made where clients and volunteers feel warmly welcomed and safe to deal with their issues. Frequently they become empowered to move forward with renewed confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing.
Each week the creative department runs the following activities:
- > Three art classes each week, on Tuesday afternoons and Fridays. There is a very developed community aspect in these classes, where artists discuss life issues in a very relaxed and supportive space. So far more than 400 people have attended Graham’s art classes.
- > Weekly craft sessions, including jewellery making, paper craft and mosaic creating. These take place on Wednesday afternoons.
- > Weekly knitting and crocheting class each Tuesday. The oldest participant is 83 and the youngest (who attends as part of a family group) is 4 years of age.
- > Weekly sewing class on Wednesday afternoons.
- > Weekly drama workshops on Wednesdays.
- > Film Making. Our resident film maker, Donkey Stone Films has led two projects for Mustard Tree clients: ‘film in a day’ and ‘edit in a day’.
Since the studio first opened, we have also held four exhibitions featuring work generated there. These have involved resident artists, art class students and local school children.
If you are interested in joining an art class or any of our other creative activities, please drop in and speak to Graham, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studio Space developments
As part of the development of our creative services, we now have a new space with 5 self-contained mini art studios, giving individual artists the opportunity to have their own studio space while still being part of the Mustard Tree community. Mustard Tree is working in partnership with the Turnkey Trust, part of the Probation Service, which has so far made one of these individual studios available for a client who was recently discharged from prison. We anticipate that this partnership will grow and develop, along with new ones.
So-called because of its exceptional light and dimensions, this is a further space currently being developed to house the programmes and activities described above. Once completed, this will free up the existing space, in which we have plans to develop a fitness suite (with the help of Forest Bank Prison), a dance studio and multi-purpose space.
James Hardy Music Studio
We have converted the space within the art department into a recording studio and live-room. This will afford clients the opportunity to write, perform and record music. A sum of approximately £8000 has already been raised for this venture, along with some sound recording equipment. We are holding an Electronic Music Production course on Mondays between 7-9pm so if you’re interested in joining, please call us on 0161 228 7331 and ask to speak to Graham, or email him at email@example.com.
The desire to deliver these programmes whilst also meeting the large increase our crisis prevention services (food bank, clothing and furniture) is a daily economic challenge, which often dictates the speed at which development work is able to happen. Mustard Tree remains committed to providing both a ‘hand-up’ as well as a ‘hand-out’ to the increasing number of clients that come through our doors, and our creative programmes strongly reflect that commitment.