“Pictures of You” is an innovative program linking physically disabled and mental health consumers with a network of established artists and galleries, to work in collaboration in producing a portrait honestly reflecting you, the human being not just the consumer. The first exhibition in this initiative opened on 2nd December at Belco Arts Centre.
Traditional art therapy:
- Provided by professional (often with no artistic experience) as part of healthcare system model
- Short term, often abstract, inward-looking and non-collaborative
- Lack of consistency of outputs and outcomes
- Individual focus / specific issues can be lost in group settings
- Focus on issue through healthcare setting - rather than positive expression of activity within consumer’s wider lived environment
Proposed alternative model:
- Match consumer with trained and empathetic artist - via online site & direct consumer contact / referral by care giver
- Establish 1-2-1 rapport to allow consumer/artist collaboration to interpret self. Use model to produce a ‘true’ consumer-focused portrait that:
- Gives true holistic expression of consumer – not just issue
- Portrait provides shorthand representation of consumer– rather than attempting long verbal explanation of Self to others
- Provides consumer with empathetic representation of Self; turning “issue” into a positive to be shared (finished portrait) not hidden
- Takes place in a safe environment - matching via web; ongoing process via F2F or online media (Zoom etc)
- Minimal outlay: promotion to primary care givers & consumers, and artist costs (grant bid potential identified)
Successfully piloted in 2020 with John Hyatt, Professor of Contemporary Art, Liverpool John Moores University (see "Case Study" page).