Wearing Other People’s Shoes

A local arts project sets out to show that taking part in creative activities can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, whatever the weather may bring!

Waverley Borough Council has teamed up with Creative Response, an arts-based charity working with vulnerable adults, to deliver a major arts and health project called Whatever the Weather.

Surrey-based artist Becci Kenning has been leading the project in Farnham as part of a wider cross-arts programme funded by Arts Partnership Surrey.

Becci has been working with ten local artists based at the centre since March. Together, they have been exploring the patterns and textures of everyday life in Farnham. The project has culminated in an exhibition of 3D studies hanging within the glass entrance atrium of Farnham Maltings. Wearing Other People's ShoesEach artist has brought their unique piece together in a collaborative piece of hanging art. The exhibition will be showing until the 12th of August, and is a fantastic addition to Creative Response’s 25 year anniversary celebrations.

In addition, a poem Whatever the weather in Farnham; Wearing other people’s shoes, written by Liz and Zena, will be available to be read on the Creative Response website.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside the team at Creative Response, and to discover Farnham through the eyes of the group. I strongly believe that Creative Response and projects such as this have a strong and vital role to play in addressing the mental wellbeing of the community” comments Becci.

Councillor David Beaman, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, said: “It is one of our council’s aims to support the health and wellbeing of our residents and it is well known that taking part in creative activities has a positive impact on people’s mental health. We are delighted to be able to support an important project that is making a very real difference to the lives of vulnerable people in our community and I look forward to visiting the exhibition and seeing their creations.”

Mark Russell, Arts Worker at Creative Response adds: “The Whatever the Weather project has allowed the Peer Support Group to experience new ways of working and ‘seeing’ – to look at Farnham’s surroundings in a completely different way. The group were encouraged to notice patterns, textures and colours in the ‘everyday’ that normally go unnoticed.”

A participant adds: “Before this project I had never looked down when walking – only ever forward. It’s like a whole new world beneath my feet has been shown to me.”

Founded in 1993 by artist Mike Prinsep, Creative Response enables participants to express themselves through art. The charity, which is based above Farnham Library, provides a safe, therapeutic environment in which each of the participants are encouraged to develop their skills and self-esteem in order to prevent relapse. This year is particularly poignant as the charity not only celebrates its 25th anniversary but also marks the passing of its founder, who is remembered for the positive contribution he has made to the lives of hundreds of local people.

Wearing Other People’s Shoes can be seen at Farnham Maltings until the 12th of August and Creative Response’s current summer exhibition ‘Silver Linings’ is running at the centre above the library in West Street, Farnham until the 19th of July.

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