AN artist’s own experiences inspired her to bring creative sessions into the homes of people with mental health issues.
Jessica Loveday became aware of the health effects of art when she developed anxiety problems, which she was able to deal with by returning to creative work after a period of absence from art.
She started volunteering with organisations such as Venture Arts in Hulme and Start in Salford, and later developed her idea of going out to hold workshops in people’s homes.
Understanding that some people with mental health problems found it difficult to leave the house, she teamed up with fellow artist Laura Negus to form Home Is Where The Art Is.
The pair went to visit people, many living in supported housing, and would work on anything the residents were interested in - from painting and drawing to textiles, ceramics and print-making.
Jessica was recognised for the project when she was nominated for the creativity in the community category of Manchester City Council’s Be Proud awards last year.
Artwork developed during the sessions has now been exhibited at St Luke’s Art Project in Longsight and Jessica is now making a book featuring photographs of the work for those involved.
Home Is Where The Art Is was originally funded by the Contact Theatre’s Future Fires programme and the Arts Council, but Rusholme resident Jessica is now looking for more funding to extend the project after seeing its benefits.
Manchester School of Art graduate Jessica said: “I think it gives people helpful activity to do, and breaks up the monotony of the day.
“It gives people something they can feel proud of, and it also gives people something they can talk to each other about.
“One woman we worked with had never done any art before, and after this project started doing art with her children, which she said brought them closer together.
“Another woman was getting towards the end of one of the projects when I asked her to facilitate a workshop, which did a lot for her confidence.
“It really helped with people’s motivation and provided a support network. People would sit down, talk and laugh with each other while they were doing these sessions.”