Metropolitan

Residents get creative at Derby art club

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art painting care & support over 55s

Residents get creative at Derby art club

We are one of the key partners – and only social landlord – working with Creative Living, a creative arts project that supports older people in Derby to live rich and fulfilling lives within their communities. This happens through weekly art and creative workshops.

The tight-knit art group that meets in the communal room at one of our Care & Support schemes spends at least half an hour enjoying tea and biscuits and putting the world to rights before getting their paint brushes out. Most participants are residents, but anyone in the community aged over 55 is welcome to attend. Sometimes they take inspiration from themes like Easter, Aboriginal art or art nouveau. Other times dipping into a bag of pictures, or propping up a model to copy, does the trick.

Resident leader, Chris says: “This group has been a godsend for many people. It helps those who may have difficultly socialising. Some people never used to leave their rooms, but now they enjoy talking to people.” Jean, for example, who has learning difficulties, has become more confident since joining the group. And it has been a springboard to other activities such as coffee mornings and bingo. Doreen adds: “The art club is one of the nicest things to have happened here. It’s has been so therapeutic for me. When I lost my daughter I was in a terrible place. I would force myself come to the group and it helped me tremendously.”

The artists have drifted into their own niches: some enjoy landscapes; others like getting stuck in and producing detailed drawings. Sandra takes her time, capturing every detail. Now that she has more time to herself (she used to care for her mother-in-law who had Alzheimer’s) she is enjoying developing her artistic skills. “I live around the corner so it’s ideal for me. It helps me when I’m feeling down,” she says.

Like Sandra, Emrys (a prolific artist) has made his Thursday morning art class a firm date in his diary. “Nothing stops me from coming to this group,” says Emrys, ”I love being out in nature and painting rocks, trees and flowers – I think it’s the texture I like.”

Phyllis says: “It gives me great enjoyment; it’s an opportunity to get better at drawing; I know everyone and take inspiration from them.” Marion says she can’t draw very well, but loves joining in for the company: “I’m trying, and there is always someone to ask if I get stuck. You never feel alone.”

Chris, who was a colourist for London Atlas many years ago, says the art group has re-ignited her interest in creativity: “I’ve re-discovered the joy of mixing colours, drawing shapes, and much more. I enjoy landscapes, though there is plenty of artistic licence with mine! I enjoy being able to do what I like. And it’s therapeutic as I’m in pain most of the time.”

Chris keeps a meticulous record of all the art that the group creates by photographing the completed pieces. She says: “Most people have no idea what they can do – they end up surprising themselves.”