Press release 10 December 2019
Over the next three months Isle of Wight arts charity Independent Arts is seeking Islanders’ views on arts provision in Newport. The consultation is supported by a partnership between the Co-op Foundation and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
‘Space to Connect’ is being launched on 10th December to look at the provision of affordable arts activities in the Newport area.
Operations Manager Hannah Griffiths says,
“Space to Connect is a chance for people to give their views about the availability of arty activities in Newport and focus on what facilities you would like to see in a community arts venue. The survey also gives you the chance to tell us what kind of activities you would like to try.”
You can complete the survey online below. Paper copies will be available from our gallery (PPUG 33, High Street, Newport) and look out for workshops popping up at various venues in Newport in January and February.
Press release 14 November 2019
Island charity Independent Arts has written a toolkit to help anyone set up an Anxiety Café in their community. The toolkit is available to download via the Independent Arts website offering tips and ideas on how to run a safe space for people living with Anxiety.
Kerry Weston, Co-Founder of Anxiety Café says:
“From the very beginning of Anxiety Café we had always hoped the idea would spread further than the Isle of Wight. We would love every community to have an Anxiety Café, providing a safe space for those who live with anxiety to make new friends in a place where they are understood.”
Independent Arts Operations Manager and Anxiety Café Co-Founder Hannah Griffiths says,
“It would be wonderful to see Anxiety Cafés popping up in every workplace, place of worship, community centre, school – the possibilities are endless.”
Newport Daytime Anxiety Café are celebrating a year of photography with their new exhibition “Through Anxious Eyes” which opens at PPUG (The People’s Pop Up Gallery, 33 High St, Newport) on 14th November.
There is an accompanying fundraising calendar featuring the work of the group available for £4. Members of the group will also be volunteering in the gallery to talk about Anxiety Café and their photography work.
Anxiety Café is supported with funding from The People’s Health Trust, and the toolkit has also been funded by Comic Relief.
Press release 11 November 2019
Independent Arts will have a new Chief Executive from December, as Lisa Gagliani MBE takes the reins from Kate Ball, the outgoing charity leader who has led the organisation for a decade.
Independent Arts is the Isle of Wight charity focussed on using the arts to improve wellbeing, quality of life and to reduce social isolation. Supported by volunteers, fantastic practitioners and a small staff team in Newport, the charity engages with 1,700 people every month across the Island.
Lisa said she is looking forward to working with the whole team to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight and recognised the work of Kate Ball, the charity’s outgoing Chief Executive:
“I’m delighted to have been selected as the next Chief Executive at Independent Arts. I moved to the Isle of Wight two years ago and have been actively looking for the right way for me to contribute to our community. Bearing in mind the unique challenges that our Island faces, leading Independent Arts in its mission to empower vulnerable people and create connections through the arts could not be more timely or relevant. I have been incredibly impressed with what I have seen of the charity so far, which is a credit to the leadership of Kate Ball and the dedication of the team. I look forward to working with them to continue strengthening our charity for the benefit of the Isle of Wight.”
Wendy Varley, Chair of Trustees said:
“We are delighted to be welcoming Lisa to the team. Lisa brings a wealth of experience to Independent Arts, particularly from her time as CEO of the Childhood Trust, the Bright Ideas Trust and while leading London’s largest independent Chamber of Commerce in Kingston.
Lisa is taking over from Kate Ball, who has led our charity over the past decade – ensuring we are always focussed on serving the most vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight to the best of our abilities. I would like to thank Kate, and the whole team at Independent Arts, for always focussing on our mission and truly making a difference on people’s lives.”
The Celebrating Age exhibition at our PPUG gallery in Newport (running till 2nd November 2019) showcases remarkable artwork produced by residents of care homes at creative workshops run by Independent Arts on the Isle of Wight.
Press release 30 October 2019
Independent Arts (IA) and Newport Carisbrooke Parish Council (NCPC) have teamed up to deliver a Community Connections service to Newport which will focus on improving the wellbeing of vulnerable local residents, especially those at risk of isolation and loneliness.
The service will see the appointment of Community Connectors who will be able to help support individuals to access local groups and activities that are designed to build confidence and give lifelong tools to improve wellbeing. Age UK Isle of Wight has found loneliness is a growing problem for older people on the Island where 1 in 6 older Islanders aged 65+ live alone. Furthermore, a study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross revealed that over 9 million people in the UK, across all adult ages, are either always or often lonely.
A person can be referred to a number of activities either by meeting Newport’s Community Connectors or visiting the well-being hub at the People’s Pop-up Gallery located at 33 High street, Newport or through a referral from other organisations such as Age UK and Barnardos. There will also be a dedicated phone service and information on the Independent Arts website and social media pages as well as through Islefindit.org.uk
There’s a vast range of projects that run Island-wide that people can be referred to and all are free of charge. These include activities such as SingAbout sessions helping older people and their carers to have fun and make friends, or Singing for Breathing which helps people manage their respiratory conditions. Individuals will be encouraged to unleash their artistic abilities at the Creative Café, working with art practitioners, or building confidence at the Anxiety Café which helps people struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. In all, every week between 500-600 Islanders attend workshops, projects and activities facilitated by Independent Arts.
Kate Ball, Independent Arts Chief Executive, said:
“We really welcome this opportunity that has been provided by NCPC and the Isle of Wight Council to provide a local service to reach out to vulnerable individuals and help them feel less isolated, alone and marginalised. Independent Arts have been doing this for over 30 years and this new service will build upon this work allowing us to support more people.”
Julie Jones-Evans, Chair of NCPC, said:
“Moving into supporting local, vulnerable people in this way is a new development for the Parish Council. This is aligned with our strategic plan and the aims of Shaping Newport. The project will be fully monitored and evaluated throughout its year long trial. If successful the Parish Council may wish to continue the support. We are very excited about working with Independent Arts who have a very impressive track record in this field and who are based just metres away from our office!”
As an established Newport based charity, IA also has existing infrastructure both physical and administrative necessary for the Community Connections service role, as well as excellent relationships with Newport based organisations and key agencies.
Details of the Community Connector job and how to apply are here. Deadline for applications, Friday 15th November.
Thank You For the Music: An afternoon of ABBA
2–4pm at Newport Methodist Hall, Quay Street, Newport
Free to attend, everyone welcome! No booking required, just come along!
Tea & coffee provided, donations appreciated.
2–3.30pm at PPUG, 33 High Street, Newport
Join us for performances from Independent Arts practitioners including Sandy Kealty and Jason Watts. Also featuring read excerpts from work produced during our creative writing workshops.
2–4pm at Independent Arts, Suite 1, 30 Quay St, Newport
Explore digital camera skills and look at familiar places from a different perspective!
Free to attend; donations appreciated.
Please dress for working outdoors (weather permitting).
2–4pm at Independent Arts, Suite 1, 30 Quay St, Newport
Try your hand at designing, cutting and printing from lino! Beginners welcome.
Free to attend; donations appreciated.
2–4pm at Independent Arts, Suite 1, 30 Quay St, Newport
Try your hand at wet felting and produce a beautiful seascape!
Free to attend; donations appreciated.
Huge congratulations to our Creative Café participants, as their incredible dinosaur banner was awarded first place in its class at Sandown Carnival! Well done all! (July 2019)
Thanks to Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely for visiting Independent Arts' PPUG gallery in Newport HIgh Street to see the fantastic exhibition by students of Nine Acres Primary School. (July 2019. Photo by Julian Winslow)
Press release July 2019
A selection of black and white portraits taken by residents of Southern Housing Group supported accommodation schemes on the Isle of Wight is going on show at the National Trust’s Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, Wiltshire, the former home of photographic pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot.
The stunning portraits were created by older people, at workshops run by Independent Arts at Southern Housing Group supported accommodation schemes. The images form an exhibition called Art and Identity which was inspired by discussing themes of capturing a person’s likeness and sense of self within a photographic portrait. Remarkable portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron (the trailblazing Victorian photographer based at Freshwater) were used as inspiration and the workshop sessions were led by photographer Julian Winslow.
“I felt emotionally overwhelmed with the artwork produced. The images are extremely powerful conveying joy, vulnerability, pathos and humour. Many of the participants had never used a digital camera but given the opportunity and guidance the results were simply astonishing. It has been a privilege to work on this project," says Julian.
Roger Watson, curator at the National Trust’s Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, was so impressed with the quality of the portraits that he invited Independent Arts to curate a selection to go on display in the Little Gallery during summer 2019:
“This is a wonderful and laudable project. The images are thought-provoking and clearly demonstrate that the creative journey is a life-long one," said Roger. "It feels very fitting with the legacy of William Henry Fox Talbot to welcome these images to Lacock and support a project of this kind."
Kerry Tindall, Independent Arts Programmes Manager, says:
“We are extremely excited and proud to be given this opportunity to show Art and Identity at the Fox Talbot Museum. The project was funded by the Arts Council with overall aims to connect vulnerable older people with creative activities, develop new skills and enhance confidence and self-esteem. The quality of the work produced has been outstanding and this is fantastic recognition for everyone involved.”
Art and Identity will be shown in the Little Gallery at the Fox Talbot Museum from 19th July to 11th August 2019.
The Fox Talbot Museum is run by the National Trust and is located in Lacock, Chippenham SN15 2LG. For opening times and more information, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock
Visit our July exhibition at PPUG, our Pop Up People's Gallery in Newport: Be creARTive is artwork produced by the children from Nine Acres Primary School over the course of one year. Exploring themes from early cave paintings, tribal art, propaganda posters, modern art, self-portraits, even the school’s chickens, they have produced a body of work that is outstanding and demonstrates the potential art has to unlock creative expression…
A huge thanks to Asda who have donated these fabulous sewing machines to our Creative Café group. These will enable us to run some more advanced textiles sessions.
8th June – 30th June
Open view Tuesday 11th June 4pm-6pm, all welcome
Our June exhibition at the People’s Pop-Up Gallery PPUG will show artwork created by ten residents of Newport Residential Care.
Reconnections draws on themes of reconnecting with oneself, the community and to the environment. The mixed media work was produced during a 15-week long project facilitated by Independent Arts (IA) working with artists Leigh Jackman, Trudie Wilson and Mark Lloyd. Each workshop was based around the participants perception of themselves and their environment.
“We started by searching for words and symbols that best described our feelings either to a place or to ourselves. Using a camera we took pictures of letters from typography and signage around Newport and at other times participants experimented with photographic techniques, finding meaning in shadows and reflections as a way to communicate their inner feelings.”
Mark Lloyd, graphic designer
Newport Residential Care is currently home to 29 people, some of who live with a variety of conditions including dementia, isolation, poor mental health, anxiety and addiction. Ten residents participated in the project learning a variety of new art disciplines from photography, printing, painting, wire drawing and collage work.
“Newport Residential Care is a safe place where a journey of recovery can begin. Some of the residents here feel isolated or stigmatised by society, so we try to rebuild their self-esteem, helping to give them the tools to change their future. The Independent Arts project enabled people to learn new skills and tap into their creative abilities. It was wonderful watching how confidence began to grow as their artwork took shape.”
Lynne Rose, Newport Residential Care Manager
You can see Reconnections at PPUG Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10.30-3.30pm from 8th June 2019.
PPUG is manned by volunteers; any schedule changes will be show on social media.
Changing lives through arts is very much the impetus behind IA. Established in 1987, they now lead the way on the Island for arts-based social prescribing. PPUG is a vibrant new arts space located at 33 High Street, Newport. As well as changing programme of exhibitions you will also will be able to find out about workshops, classes and groups designed to help improve mental and physical wellbeing.
"Through drawing in wire we have explored the freedom of expression through line, this material naturally allows for freedom to express ideas and feeling, the wire recording thought and the process of making from within the moment,”
Trudie Wilson, visual artist and sculptor
Press release April 2019
Launch event Friday 17th May 4–6pm – all welcome
Independent Arts (IA) have transformed an empty space on Newport High Street, creating a vibrant art gallery and a wellbeing hub for art-based projects that can benefit your mental and physical health.
The People’s Pop-Up Gallery, known as PPUG, opening Thursday 25th April, is located at 33 High Street and will also have a well-being Hub. There will be a series of engaging exhibitions and the Hub will act as a social prescribing referral service for anyone who feels they may benefit either mentally or physically from one of several projects facilitated by IA.
Changing lives through art is very much the impetus behind IA. Established in 1987, the charity now leads the way on the Island for arts-based social prescribing. Social prescribing is simply where people receive non-medical help to improve their health and well-being through activities delivered in a social setting. These activities have measurable outcomes and vary from participating in a singing workshop to improve respiratory health, enjoying a dance class to assist with neurological conditions, to joining an anxiety café to reduce feelings of anxiety and isolation. At PPUG you will be able to find out about workshops, classes and groups designed to help improve mental and physical wellbeing.
Most of the artwork due to be exhibited at PPUG has been produced either at therapeutic workshops run by Independent Arts, or in environments designed to give artistic opportunities to people and children of all backgrounds. Wendy Varley, Chair of Trustees, Independent Arts, says:
“Independent Arts will always be a charity delivering arts programmes for the benefit of the most vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight; people of all ages experiencing disadvantage or social isolation, those with long term health problems and elderly people in care homes.”
The result is a rich body of work ranging from poignant black and white photographic portraiture to ceramic sculptures to intricate textile panels that feature the heritage of Newport. The opening exhibition, Time & Tide, features extraordinary artistic responses to local history created primarily by residents of Southern Housing Group schemes and care homes across the Island and at other workshop events held at libraries.
“We are delighted that The Gravesend and District Real Estate Company have given us the opportunity to use this space and would especially like to thank Tony Scotcher from Scotcher & Co for making this possible,” says Kate Ball, Chief Executive of IA.
PPUG will be open Thurs-Sat 10.30am–3.30pm though times may vary. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities or would like to find out more, please contact us.
Press release April 2019
Independent Arts (IA) secure three years’ funding for SingAbout, an island-wide project providing regular weekly singing clubs for older people living with a range of conditions including dementia and social isolation.
The £117,900 grant from The Henry Smith Charity will go towards three years' running costs of the SingAbout project. IA were praised by the charity who commented:
"We were particularly impressed with how well run the organisation is and how staff have the right skills and experience in supporting your client groups. We also thought your organisation has strong robust positive outcomes and the quality of your work is excellent and all artistic projects are embedded with therapeutic methods."
SingAbout was developed in 2010 to focus on the needs of our increasingly elderly population and in particular issues around social isolation, dementia and loneliness. Now, over 500 elderly people attend sessions every week, participating in social singing groups that not only allow friendships to flourish but also can improve mental, physical and cognitive health. A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts, Health and Wellbeing found that music therapy reduces agitation and the need for medical medication in 67% of people living with dementia.
"I'm not so lonely, I go out more, have some lovely friends that I didn't have before. This helps boost my mood and my depression is much better."
JA 69 years of age
The two-hour free sessions, in church and community halls, include an important half-hour tea break where people can chat to each other. The singing is directed by trained musicians who have extensive experience in working with older people and those with dementia.
The sessions are open to all older people who wish to maintain memory, improve mood, breathing, movement, speech and confidence, or who are lonely and want someone to share a cup of tea with once a week. For many participants SingAbout is their only form of social activity, so securing a further three years of provision is a most welcome result.
Over the past eight years the project has been supported by multiple funders and is most recently part of the Age Friendly Island programme.
'We are delighted that the SingAbout project has secured longer-term funding. SingAbout is a life-enhancing activity and the Ageing Better programme, funded by the national lottery community fund, will continue to work together with Independent Arts providing these much-needed experiences to our most vulnerable members of society.'
Megan Jones, Head of Ageing Better, Age UK
If you are interested in joining SingAbout or you are a carer for someone you feel may benefit from participating please see our list of venues and times here
Press release March 2019
Independent Arts (IA) are behind an ambitious new project, School Ties, that aims to put the Isle of Wight at the forefront of intergenerational care by introducing school rooms in care homes.
Last year IA ran a pilot project, Schoolroom in a Care Home, in which 10 primary school children regularly had lessons in a care home.
After just 12 weeks the results were astounding, care home residents felt a range of improvements from increased physical mobility, improved communication and enhanced feelings of self-worth.
For the children the results were equally impressive with teachers rating 100% strong improvements in all children over seven criteria including sensitivity, behaviour, confidence and expressive skills.
The school subsequently scored an improved Ofsted rating with the report highlighting: ‘Learning in lessons is enhanced successfully by events and activities that raise awareness of the wider world.’
After the success of the initial pilot project, IA have just secured funding from the Big Lottery and will introduce this concept to more schools and care homes across the Island.
Kerry Tindall, Programme Manager, says:
“We will be working with five care homes and schools this year, doubling to ten by 2020.
“We know from our own experience and research that this concept really works.
“Ideally, Independent Arts would like to create an easily replicated blueprint for intergenerational care on the Isle of Wight, improving the quality of adult residential care and enhancing education to transform lives both young and old.”
The Isle of Wight was recently highlighted for poor adult residential care ranking 47 out of 47 for its residential, nursing and home care services, this was based on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection ratings.
Similarly education has hit the spotlight with figures from the Department of Education showing 46 per cent of 16-year-olds failed to pass their English and maths GCSE a figure well below the national average.
Kerry finished by saying,
“This inspirational project has the potential to address some serious issues we face here and actually put the Island in the spotlight for creative, affordable solutions that positively change lives and that is at the heart of Independent Arts.”
If you are interested in your school or care home taking part in this exciting project please contact us.
Independent Arts has been focused on arts for health and wellbeing for more than 30 years: we know the difference arts activities can make to people's lives.
There is now recognition from government that social prescribing – GPs prescribing targeted activities – can be a way of improving people's quality of life, mental health and general wellbeing, as well as reducing social isolation.
Several of Independent Arts' projects already address specific health needs. These include:
Anxiety Café, which gives attendees a chance to meet new people and try new activities;
DanseSense, for people with neurological conditions; and
Singing for Breathing for people with COPD, asthma, or other breathing difficulties.
Please explore our website and, if you need more information, don't hesitate to
An exhibition of paintings created by residents at Hartford Care (Highfield Nursing Home in Ryde and Springfield Nursing Home in Shanklin) is on display at Highfield (March 2019). Titled "Impressions – Studies on colour and light" it brings together work from Independent Arts workshops in both nursing homes, taking inspiration from the work of famous artists such as Matisse. Click on the picture below to see more of the work.
Press release February 2019
Independent Arts has received funding to support its Anxiety Café from The People’s Health Trust. The Trust has provided two-year funding from money raised through The Health Lottery in the South East.
The money will be used to continue the popular mental health project Anxiety Café. Anxiety Café offers people living with anxiety access to free creative sessions to help manage their condition using the arts. Sessions include singing, textiles, movement, mindfulness, crafts and photography. Participants are encouraged to suggest ideas and themes for sessions.
Sessions are open to anyone who lives with anxiety and are held every Wednesday 10.30am-12.30pm in Newport Methodist Church Hall.
Project Manager Hannah Griffiths said,
“We are so pleased to have received this funding to continue our work at Anxiety Café using the arts to improve health. These sessions provide a lifeline for people living with mental health problems. As well as boosting their confidence to try new things it offers them a supportive environment to meet new people.”
If you would like to attend Anxiety Café or learn more, please contact us.
Press release January 2019
Art and Identity is the final exhibition created as part of Independent Arts Time & Tide project funded by Arts Council England, and displayed at Dimbola Museum and Gallery.
Time & Tide has paired local history and the arts to bring opportunities for older people to engage with cultural pursuits. Art and Identity was the first foray into portraiture for the artists, many of whom had not even picked up a digital camera before being involved in Time & Tide. The portraits were produced by older people, at workshops run by Independent Arts in Southern Housing Group sheltered housing schemes. The work is inspired by discussing the themes of art and identity and learning about Julia Margaret Cameron’s pioneering work in photography. Local visual artist Julian Winslow mentored the photographers to produce this fantastic body of work.
Project Manager Hannah Griffiths said:
“Art and Identity has been a fitting end to Time & Tide, as our artists were given the opportunity to reflect on themselves and how this year-long project has brought a change in them. The quality of work produced by our older artists has been outstanding. Seeing their confidence grow with every workshop has been wonderful and for many of our artists Time & Tide has been a life changing experience. It has been an honour for Independent arts to give them this opportunity.”
Private view to be held on Friday 11th January 6-8pm & Saturday 12th January 2 – 4pm (older artists to be in attendance)
Art and Identity will run from January 14th until February 17th 2019 at Dimbola Museum and Gallery, Terrace Lane Freshwater. Open 10am – 4pm, closed Monday. Free Entry to the exhibition from 13th – 20th January.
PortFolio provides art workshops and mindfulness sessions to people experiencing mid-life mental health issues. We are delighted that a grant from the BUPA UK Foundation will enable Independent Arts to extend this valuable project for a further year.
ReMap – our project to help people living with chronic pain.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind have generously donated six state-of-the-art desks to the Independent Arts. Production Director for MHI Vestas Offshore UK, James Luter responded to a request for surplus office furniture and was pleased to donate the desks to the charity.
“It’s great to know that these desks will assist Independent Arts who do fantastic work reaching out to vulnerable members of the community,’ says James.
The height-adjustable desks allow you to stand as well as sit which can help promote good back care as well as providing flexibility if you have to work for long periods sitting down.
“The desks are brilliant and we feel very fortunate to have been given them by MHI Vestas. They will make a much better working environment for staff and volunteers and the sit-stand function is a great option to promote healthier alternatives to sitting for long-periods of time," says Hannah Griffiths, Project Manager at Independent Arts.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind mission is to co-develop offshore wind as an economically viable and sustainable energy resource to benefit future generations.
A big thank you to the amazing BalletWorks for inviting our DanceMakers and DanceSense groups to Medina Theatre to watch their company class, ahead of their performances at Medina Theatre on July 26th and 27th, part of the company's outreach to involve the local community and promote dance.
Thank you to The Guy James Robbers for playing this charity gig in aid of Independent Arts.
If you're heading over to Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival, please look out for our 'Spirit of the Dance' tree (in St Mary's Church). Inspired by Matisse and the reminiscences of older people and their memories of dance.