The Art Studios & Horticulture
“Start has changed the way I see myself. Now I can see that I might have a future where before I couldn't see one for myself…”
“You get to know other people. It’s good for your confidence and your self-esteem because you’re talking to people. Life is increasingly isolated for us all - it’s pleasureable to meet and work with others.”
The studio spaces within our centre are each run by a specialist tutor (Start artist /horticulturalist). Groups are small and friendly, and each studio has a welcoming, informal atmosphere. Tutors are knowledgeable about their subject area, and are experienced in working within mental health settings.
“Start is a good place to be - it’s welcoming, warm and friendly.”
In addition to the studios, we have spacious grounds with greenhouses, where the gardening students (service users) can enjoy their sessions, plus indoor facilities for wet weather days.
These are the subjects offered at Start:
- Painting & Drawing
- We also have an Occupational Therapist as part of the Start team, who may offer additional support to some students if required.
Classes, or sessions are 2-3 hours long, and run between 10am - 4pm on weekdays, although each studio has its own timetable. Every student has pre-arranged session time each week, and will follow a work plan that has been jointly discussed beforehand. This structure helps tutors to spend time with every person in the group, and plan sessions effectively.
“I notice that I feel better for attending Start and my wife has noticed a difference in me too”
Being in the studios is all about enjoyment of the creative experience, about discovering talents and experimenting with new skills, and the tutors make the sessions as varied as possible. Every student can learn at their own pace, and contribute their own ideas to their projects.
“Studying art at Start has been a revelation. I thought I was someone without talent, and now I find that I can make things I really like. I've even exhibited things in galleries. It makes me feel good about myself for the first time in years.”
Initially, students will try out a number of 12 week courses in different subject areas, to learn a range of technical skills. Following this, if they remain at Start, they may choose to study a certain subject in more depth. This offers the chance to learn about modern and traditional techniques for instance, about design skills, materials and equipment, alongside continuing tuition in the practical process of making or gardening.
“Attending Start maintains my mood. It provides experiences I can grow and develop from…after a session at Start I often feel inspired, motivated, and enthusiastic about things …”
Along the way, students will pick up, improve or relearn lots of general skills including time management, planning, researching, problem-solving and the recording of ideas.
“My tutor…encourages both independent thinking and experimentation - valuable life skills in personal development”
At any time in their studies, students may occasionally take part in exhibitions, commissions, special skills days and group projects. We also encourage students to find out more about other artists and gardeners, through books and field visits.
“Taking on commissions and exhibition work is really nerve-wracking, but it makes you challenge yourself, learn better skills, be more thorough. It's a good experience.”