09 Apr Creative Packs
I’m Hayley and I’m a member of Underground Lights Community Theatre. I love being creative and making art. I believe art has the power to heal. Taking time out to create something, whether that be a painting, a piece of writing, or working collaboratively to produce a performance, increases my wellbeing and reduces my anxiety. Last week, I had an insuppressible urge to paint Van Gogh’s sunflowers. I’m not sure where that came from, though it was intriguing to discover it was his birthday around that time. Funny old world… I’m pleased with the results and enjoyed the challenge of trying something new. I’m always learning about my creative process, not only from the work I do alone but also from being part of a creative community – it’s a great way to share art and ideas, and I never feel alone.
However, as you are aware, due to the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, all group activities are suspended for the foreseeable future. To avoid group members feeling isolated and experiencing a decline in their mental health, we were asked for our thoughts on how to keep activities going and keep connected. Everybody had fantastic responses and we now have a Facebook group to share our creative work. We also have weekly Zoom meetings to keep in contact and discuss what we’d like to do in future. As I love art, some of my suggestions involved producing artworks on some of the themes we’ve explored in rehearsals. It struck me that maybe not everybody has materials at home to create art. So, I also suggested making creative packs to send out to members, with a programme of activities and the materials required to take part in them. The idea was a hit.
Working alongside City of Culture, Underground Lights, Belgrade Theatre, Grapevine, Arty Folks and Crisis, we discussed what members would need and how we could get creative packs together. It was no easy feat. We had to think about safety issues around contamination, data protection and distribution. But with incredible effort and support from everybody involved, and funding from City of Culture, we have put the packs together, and they will be delivered this week. City of Culture are also looking at extending the project to other groups across the city. When our groups can meet again, we are planning to have a party or exhibition, hosted by the Belgrade Theatre, where we can share all our creative work. I can’t think of a better conclusion to the quarantine!
Everybody is doing incredible work across the country to support the vulnerable in our society at this difficult time. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to do something for our community and I hope the packs help to keep our members feeling connected. I have a huge amount of thanks and gratitude to everyone who made this project possible.
And, of course, I’m looking forward to seeing all the wonderful creations!