The Impact Art Fair 2013 | Together We Can

The second Impact Art Fair took place at the Block 336 gallery in Brixton, from Fri 26th – Sun 28th July.

Led by Creative Future, it showcased work by talented artists whose opportunities are limited by mental health issues, disability, chronic ill health or social circumstance. About 280 artists contributed work this year, and over 1,300 people came along to view and buy the artwork.

This unique fair was supported by Maudsley Charity, and made possible thanks to your generous donations.

Among the works on display were 84 framed pictures by SLaM service users (some of which you can see in the image above).

Challenging stigma

‘We wanted the fair to demonstrate that artworks produced by artists operating on the edge are no less full of talent than mainstream offerings,’ says Simon Powell, Project Director of Creative Future.

‘We wanted to challenge assumptions about what marginalised artists and people can or cannot achieve, and to help improve participants’ wellbeing.’

Helen Shearn is the Head of SlaM Arts Strategy, and explains the importance of the partnership between SLaM and Creative Future that allowed the fair to take place.

‘SLaM service users have told us about the importance of exhibiting and performing in building a sense of wellbeing, inclusion and recovery,’ she says. ‘So the Impact Art Fair is a key event in SLaM’s arts strategy.’

Creative expression

Volunteers, including staff and service users, came together to help make the event a success: framing and displaying the artwork and managing the stalls. Sarah Joseph, an Occupational Therapist, was one of the volunteers.

‘What was great was people who had contributed postcard art works to the SLaM stall coming over and explaining what had lead them to producing that particular piece of art and the story behind it.’

As well as the framed postcards, there was artwork from local solo artists and SLaM’s partner organisations Bethlem Gallery, CoolTan Arts, The Three C’s, and the South East London Arts Network.

‘The soulful works express real raw feelings, uncensored, unpretentious, feelings that are unlimited by ‘normal constructs of art’ from people who are labeled as having mental health issues or disabilities, but who really hold magnificent healing qualities,’ says Simon Thomas, journalist for Galleries magazine.

A sense of community

Creative Future set out ‘to create a cultural event which bridges disparate sections of society,’ says Simon.

‘The sense of community that was developed during the build-up to the fair confirms that the celebratory nature of the event is a therapeutic model that works, with wide-ranging and profound impacts on those involved.

We’re hugely grateful to Maudsley Charity for their vision and far-sightedness in supporting this event, without which the benefits to those involved would not have been possible.’

You can also see the beautiful artwork featured at the fair in the Impact Art Fair brochure.

If you missed out on this years Impact Art Fair, you can listen to the audio blog by Matthew, SLaM TWIG Operations.

You can help us to support more projects that help those with mental health issues. Make a donation to South London and Maudsley today

#RT via Helen via Lots of lovely pictures here too!

See also

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