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Wilmslow Express - - NEWS -

N 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.”

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