Stockport Express

All smiles as mural set to go on tour

- VICKY GAYLE @mennewsdes­k

ARTS and mental health organisati­on Arc is hoping to paint smiles on faces all over Stockport by taking its latest artwork – a five metre wide mural – on a tour of the town.

A pilot project with Refugee Action and artist Tracy McGuinness Kelly, it’s hoped that venues will rush to showcase the giant mural for free, helping to present a vibrant image of community cohesion.

The exhibition was produced by refugees as part of the Young People’s Arc programme, and was on public display until June 19 at the Arc Community Gallery in Reddish.

Arc’s artistic director Jacqui Wood said: “It’s a joyful piece and the theme, One World One Family, is appropriat­e for so many places.”

Jacqui explained that the mural would be ‘perfect for places where people meet’ and said she would be happy for it to go to locations where people from ‘different cultural communitie­s crossed over’.

She spoke about Arc’s use of art therapy to stimulate positive effects in the brain, and how the colourful mural would benefit the average passerby.

She said: “Whether you have a diagnosis of mental illness, as some of our clients have, sometimes we all need a bit of a pick me up and art does that.

“We’ve been around for 20 years and I think it’s interestin­g that even the government and statutory services now talk about wellbeing.

“They recognise on some level that power of creative thinking so I think people are finally catching up with us.”

Arc has been supporting some of the most vul- nerable young people for 19 years, and Jacqui says that through the creative process they begin to understand their value as a person and build confidence.

She said: “It’s a natural thing to want to tell your story and express who you are – surely that’s what we’ve done since the caves.

“All these things are about reaffirmin­g who you are as a community and individual, and in a way that’s what we’re still doing.”

Without a big budget, Arc relies on word of mouth and wants to spread the word so potential new partnershi­ps can arise.

Jacqui added: “We make the most of what we have by working with organisati­ons that want to achieve the same things and together we create something quite amazing.”

To find out more visit the website at artsforrec­overy. com.

 ??  ?? Members of Arc (Arts for Recovery) based in Reddish with a mural they have created and are hoping to take on a tour of Stockport
Members of Arc (Arts for Recovery) based in Reddish with a mural they have created and are hoping to take on a tour of Stockport

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