A really successful FaNs Art at Home Public Exhibition

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FaNs team have been working in collaboration with We are the Minories to curate an exhibition to showcase the artwork of care home residents in the local area.

Margaret's Story

Margaret was delighted when we approached her to display selected pieces of her cross stitch collection. It was an honour to meet her and hear about her passion for creating craft and art. Together, we selected the pieces that would be exhibited, and crucially were able to plan for her to attend the exhibition; after a challenging few years due to Covid restrictions affecting family visits, the ability to safely travel outside of the Care Home to participate in a community activity cannot be underestimated.

Sending a personalised invitation to Margaret was an integral part of the project, as it allowed us to demonstrate the importance we place on the artist, and in line with creating a biography to accompany the work, we were able to enhance the exhibition experience for both community visitors as well as family, friends and the artists themselves who were able to visit.

The culmination of efforts resulted in not only the artist being delighted to be featured in the exhibition but also her family witnessing just how much joy was given to her, and the community who were able to share in her artwork. Margaret, who visited the exhibition with her husband, Owen, said “it was lovely to see all the art work by various people”

Muriel's Story

The Care Home reported the following, and we could see how much Muriel and Paul enjoyed their visit.

"Muriel & Paul went to the Art Exhibition today 'Art at Home 2021' at The Old Laura Ashley shop in Colchester. Muriel was very happy to see her own Art work displayed along with many more amazing paintings. Muriel was taken by surprise when her daughter walked through the doors who travelled all the way from Newcastle to spend these precious moments with Muriel.

A big Thank you to FaNs Network for making this Art Exhibition happen. We look forward to many more".

One of our FaNs responded to this post: “Love them all, you all do you such a great job, thank you for allowing your residents to retain dignity and doing stuff from real life”

How did the Art at Home Exhibition develop into an idea from one resident's wish?

Last year Dot's FaNs Wishing Washing Line wish was to have some artist materials to rekindle an old hobby of oil painting. It was wonderful to later see Dot in action painting with her new equipment. Knowing that our Essex care home residents are a clever and talented bunch we thought that it would be great to give 'the artists' among them an opportunity to display their creativity to the wider public and for their talents to be recognised and valued. At the same time we wanted to include any contributions the residents themselves decided illustrated their creativity; not everyone classes themselves as 'an artist'!

Residents were invited to produce and exhibit their artwork in a local pop up gallery. Team FaNs worked in collaboration with We are the Minories to curate an exhibition to showcase the artwork of care home residents in the local area.

FaNs invited Care Homes with whom we have an existing relationship to take part in this initiative, as well as new Care Homes via advertising the event on social media. Due to the location this was restricted largely to the Colchester and surrounding area, but we were delighted to include one of the Clacton Homes.

All Government and Public Health advice was followed, with Social Distancing being maintained for collection of the artwork from Care Homes. Fortunately we were able to hold the Art Exhibition at a time when Care Home residents were again able to leave the Care Home and were delighted not to require Plan B!

We sent the exhitibiting artists a 'golden ticket' inviting them, and a family member or carer, to attend a Preview Evening or anytime during the 4 day Exhibition. Thanks to grant money the charity had received from Independent Age to support our return to face-to-face FaNs activities post-Covid, we were able to support travel costs which made all the difference enabling many older people to attend. Our thanks also to the many staff and family members without whom the Residents would have been unable to enjoy their work and that of the other artists.

The atmosphere was amazing and to our delight many of the Care Homes had aranged for the residents to combine the visit to the Art Exhibition with another 'treat' to celebrate being outside in the community again. Some went for meals, some went shopping, some enjoyed a nice cuppa in the M&S cafe adjacent to the Exhibition location. All part of a nice day out for many older people who have been so badly restricted during the Covid pandemic.

Jo Roosenbeek, FaNs Project Coordinator said “We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside such an important local organisation to celebrate the amazing and often hidden artistic talent of residents in Care Homes - the joy it has brought to them, their families and friends and the community has been an honour to facilitate”

Jade Fothergill, We are the Minories Operations Manager said “It’s been wonderful to work together with FaNs and offer this diverse exhibition to the community…looking forward to collaborating again!”

Samantha Farrow, Lifestyle Coordinator at St Fillan’s Care Home said “Brilliant exhibition, some amazing work. Lovely to bring our residents...to see their work. Thanks FaNs for all you do”

Kim Murphy, Activities Coordinator at Milton Lodge said “Lovely to see MIlton Lodge’s art work, thank you”

Family members said “Lovely to see Care Homes engaging the residents’ creativity”