Making time for art has several benefits, including enhancing wellbeing and developing vital skills. As a community arts organisation based in Solihull, Birmingham, we’re always listening to feedback: these are the top 5 benefits from arts workshops that our community typically mention …
Enjoying yourself is vital in order to access all the other fantastic benefits of art, such as generating mindfulness and feeling like part of a community. That’s why we’re delighted that ‘enjoyment’ is the number one aspect mentioned in the feedback we receive.
One parent said that her children ‘really enjoyed it and were thoroughly engaged’ throughout the art classes, showing how enjoyment can lead to greater concentration. Our volunteers also enjoy working with us, feeling a personal benefit as they help the community. Volunteer Andria said that ‘volunteering at Art Club was the most enjoyable experience during my internship’, as she witnessed children ‘learn about arts and culture with the most fun projects’. Whether you are teaching or learning, art is enjoyable for everyone!
2. Learning new skills
Our second most popular response links to one of the NHS’ Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing: ‘keep learning’. Our classes encourage a process of exploration and refinement, with students learning specific, real-life skills. One of our young members, Marcella, has found that the classes have ‘helped her with learning to focus’ and ‘led to her seeing herself as an artist, worthy of praise and recognition.’
Through using a range of materials, techniques and artists for inspiration, students develop their artistic flare. One child, Rubio, said that ‘you’ve really taught me a lot about the angles of the face and the eyes’, building up his shading skills to master the art of self-portrait. This learning is not just for children, either, as we have many adult members who have developed their art skills through our art classes.
3. Feeling part of a community
Learning as part of a group helps you to feel supported and connected to those around you, which is another one of the Five Steps To Wellbeing. Art at the Heart is not simply an organisation, it’s also a community, and our members benefit from a ‘fun and friendly atmosphere’, as one adult learner described.
This means that nobody faces challenges alone, and one parent said that ‘it seems like taking some risks and pushing things with this group is just right’. This also creates a fruitful learning environment for volunteers, with Frankie stating that she ‘felt part of the community’ through attending workshops and receiving ‘regular feedback’ from Mukesh and Kamaljit during her internship. Art at the Heart received a nomination for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year, as a testimony to the hard work and dedication of our community. Read more about our nomination here.
4. Developing confidence and not just in Art
All this support helps to develop confidence, something that our members notice as a result of their time with Art at the Heart. One parent said that her daughter has ‘grown in confidence since she started attending the art club’, and while feeling very shy at first, the class has ‘put her at ease and helped her to develop her techniques in drawing, painting and sculpture work’.
On a professional level, working with Art at the Heart introduces volunteers to the arts world, guiding them towards their future career. Ryan, a recent graduate, said that his experience with the organisation ‘supported me in broadening my understanding of real-life projects, and building relationships with professionals which in turn built my confidence’. No matter your age and ability, making art can help you to feel more secure in your ability and sense of self.
5. Support during lockdown
We’re delighted to hear that our community has appreciated our online engagement throughout the pandemic. Volunteer Julie said that ‘I found Kamaljit and Mukesh’s free Community project totally absorbing, allowing exclusion from the frustrations and limitations of lockdown’. Another member added that the online classes ‘kept our group motivated and has given us something to look forward to each week’.
Life can be unpredictable and challenging, and we want to use art to support people with whatever they might be going through. This links back to the first quality that we noticed: enjoyment, as immersing yourself in creativity can act as a welcome distraction. Our 2021 summer programme includes both in-person and online events to support those who may still be shielding.
Join one of our art classes today!
If you haven’t encountered Art at the Heart before, and you’d like to develop your confidence, feel part of a community, learn something new, and enjoy yourself, then why not attend one of our classes or events? Take a look at the latest workshops and events available here: