We are pleased to be offering creative activities online for you to enjoy while COVID19 social isolation rules continue.

We are adding more video sessions every week – please join us on our Independent Arts YouTube channel.



Jot creative writing competition winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2020 creative writing competition…

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Independent Arts welcomes new trustees

Press release 10th September 2020

Isle of Wight charity Independent Arts has welcomed two new trustees to its board.

Glass artist Brian Marriott ran a successful design company on the island prior to retirement. He mentors design degree students at Isle of Wight College and is a founder trustee of Isle of Wight charity WightAid. Brian said:

"I have been professionally involved in the creative industry all my life and the Island's charitable sector for many years. I have recognised the great work Independent Arts has delivered to the Island's community of all ages and therefore I welcome this opportunity to add my skills to planning a new future for this much-needed charity."

David Lindsay spent most of his career as an executive in international retail, with a focus on buying and marketing. He is actively involved in the local community and is a keen singer. David said:

“I admire the values of this charity and have been most impressed by the commitment of all of those involved. I feel that it is important to spread this message to a wider audience across the island and intend to use my knowledge and experience to help achieve this aim.”

David Linsay and Brian Marriott, Independent Arts trustees

David Lindsay (left) and Brian Marriott

Chair of trustees Wendy Varley said:

“Independent Arts’ board is delighted to welcome David and Brian. Their combined skills and experience and their knowledge of our island community will be a real asset to the charity."

Chief Executive Lisa Gagliani said:

“At a time of such challenge to communities and charities, it is tremendous that we have come through this pandemic with such positive outcomes. Gaining two new trustees, and our services translating digitally so well with new initiatives such as our Festival of Islesolation which welcomes new participants and supporters alike.

“We thank our arts practitioners and volunteers for helping us stay agile and focussed – and we are busy now preparing to return to socially-distanced community programmes where they are most needed.”

Independent Arts was founded in 1987 and uses the arts to improve wellbeing, quality of life and to reduce social isolation on the Isle of Wight. During the pandemic many of their activities have been held via zoom and YouTube, with some now happening outdoors and socially distanced at venues across the Island.


Updates on Anxiety Café and DanceMakers (September 2020)

Currently, we are in the process of looking for indoor venues for Anxiety Cafe, but keep an eye on our social media pages for further updates!

When it comes to DanceMakers, Lake and Newport have indoor venues and are going ahead regularly, whereas Freshwater is taking a break until we can find a new home.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with us.


The Pencil Case Project

The Pencil Case Project

This project was begun in response to the Covid-19 lockdown measures when our lottery-funded inter-generational schools and care home project School Ties was temporarily halted. Our funder, the National Lottery, very generously agreed for funds to be repurposed to provide for the new art sacks!

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Isle of Wight charity Independent Arts launch new online arts portal – The Festival of Islesolation.

Press release 22 May 2020

Festival of Islesolation

To mark the start of its ambitious and aptly named Festival of Islesolation, local arts and health charity, Independent Arts, has announced the opening of an exciting new community gallery space open to all. Independent Arts CEO Lisa Gagliani MBE said:

“Since opening our People's Pop Up Gallery (PPUG) in 2019 we have discovered the importance of the community submitting and viewing art made by people like them. We have been inundated with requests to show work. Our new cyberspace home is so exciting because it’s vast: we can triple, quadruple our current gallery space and free ourselves from the constraints of a physical building. We are thankful to Arts Council England for funding this new online gallery space.

“The new gallery rooms and performance studio will become the home of our fantastic Festival of Islesolation. We hope the whole Island community of families, residents, artists, photographers, writers and performers of ages and backgrounds will create work for us and of course come along and visit the space too. We want you to get creative and fill our beautiful new gallery with your thoughts, visions and reflections in any art form. Practicing artists are invited to come forward to submit commissions for micro-projects too. Successful candidates will have presented ideas that best use their own practice to interpret their experience of lock down and engage and involve their communities.

“The arts have so much to offer for everyone, and can be such a solace for loneliness and solitude, especially in these dark and worrying times. We want you to respond to this point in history creatively and share that with us and the rest of the Island.

“Independent Arts are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing funding support as part of their Covid-19 response to enable the charity to undertake this project as part of a package to support the Island’s strong arts community. The opening of the gallery will be marked by a highly topical exhibition of portraits of care workers and residents from two Island care homes. These portraits so aptly demonstrate how the charity’s work embedded in the care sector for over three decades is so well placed to sensitively portray the humanity of people’s lives and their work. The portraits were taken by Island photographer Julian Winslow and were commissioned as part of the charity’s Changing Spaces project funded by Dunhill Medical.

Key Workers photographed by Julian Winslow

“The gallery will house rooms named after famous Island luminaries from the creative and literary world: the Julia Margaret Cameron Gallery, will be given over to photography, film and media. The Alfred Lord Tennyson gallery for poetry and creative writing. There will be a gallery housing the charity’s permanent collection, a sculpture gallery, a dedicated gallery showcasing work produced as part of the festival and in direct response to the Covid-19 crisis. This will include a Bayeux-like, community Tapestry of Isolation telling your stories of lockdown. The new gallery will also house its own fully equipped online performance studio.

Operations Manager Hannah Griffiths says:

“The most exciting part of the new online space will be The De Fortibus gallery. This gallery will show work curated by you, the local people of the Isle of Wight. Independent Arts is asking you to choose up to ten of your favourite artworks to be included in this regularly changing space. Perhaps you would like to curate with your family, your housemates, work colleagues or just pick pieces that speak to you.”

Independent Arts is an Isle of Wight charity (registered charity 297474) founded in 1987, using the arts to improve wellbeing, quality of life and to reduce social isolation.

Take a look for yourself and visit

Islesolation Gallery

For further information, please

Contact us



We'll Meet Again… Online

Press release 1st April 2020

Hanna - We'll Meet Again - Ryde Singabout - virtual choir - coronavirus

Isle of Wight Charity Independent Arts is used to delivering workshops to communities and residential homes across the Isle of Wight as part of their programme to improve health and wellbeing using the arts. Government regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has stalled their work, but not for long.

The team of staff and practitioners supported by their team of volunteers began planning how they could do things remotely to help reach some of their participants. This has involved looking at how technology can bring their practitioners to the people who need them most.

Operations Manager Hannah Griffiths says,

“From the day that the new Government regulations came into place to ask those who were vulnerable to self-isolate for twelve weeks, we started planning ways we could reach those who would be stuck behind closed doors for many weeks.

“It’s taken us a bit of time as we wanted to make sure that our workshops continued to be as good quality and accessible as always.

“We are pleased to announce that we are now running virtual Anxiety Cafe sessions via Zoom, we are planning to start virtual SingAbout next week and virtual DanceMakers sessions very soon.

“Our care home workshops are also going digital with our practitioners being beamed from their home into the care home.

"We are also putting daily content on our You Tube channel including poems, talks and songs that anybody can watch and enjoy.”

Hear Hanna’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’
We will meet again, we know where, we just don’t know when. Hopefully we can see many of our regular participants and some new faces online very soon.

SingAbout practitioner Hanna Nixon is helping is spread the message, with her beautiful signed and sung rendition of We’ll Meet Again.


March 2020 update

Our wonderful Independent Arts team is now working from home to continue serving our fantastic community during the Coronavirus crisis. Please see our homepage for current information.


Jot creative writing competition: A page of a work in progress

Press release March 2020

Independent Arts are launching their first creative writing competition for aspiring Island writers! The competition aptly named ‘Jot’ aims to encourage anyone from the Isle of Wight, with a story in their head, to express it and enter.

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.

Islanders are invited to submit an example of ‘a page of a work in progress’. The competition is open to all Isle of Wight residents. There are three age groups: 5-11years, 12-17 years and 18 years+ and it is free to enter. 

Entries will be accepted in a wide range of formats, including video clips of performative pieces, auditory recordings or soundscapes of spoken word (not to exceed 3 minutes) and, of course, the written word (not to exceed one side of A4). 

Independent Arts CEO, Lisa Gagliani MBE, said of the new competition:

“As an Island charity committed to exploring change through creativity, we hope this competition will encourage novices and experienced storytellers, young & old, to literally jot something down, or to record a few minutes of spoken word, to express themselves and connect.”

The prizes include a subscription to Writing Magazine, generous book tokens, a Costa gift card and tickets to the Island Literary Festival. Judges include Edana Minghella, a patron of Independent Arts. Also, published writer Anmarie Bowler, Editor of Brevity, The Isle of Wight’s Literary Handbill, who will judge the 18+ age group. Winning entries in this age group may be published in a future issue of Brevity. Other judges include an award-winning, published Island writer who has kindly sponsored the prizes and a number of other creative talents associated with Independent Arts. Importantly though, this is a competition open to all and has been devised with the novice particularly in mind.

To enter:

  1. simply download an application form from Independent Arts website or obtain an application pack by visiting PPUG at 33 High Street, Newport (please check if we are open first).
  2. Write a single page of a ‘work in progress’ which could be a story, a poem, a play, a diary or an article – or if you prefer not to put pen to paper – you may record your work in progress (3 minutes maximum) on your chosen device.
  3. Send your application form and your entry by email to [email protected] with Creative Writing Competition in the subject line, or post to Independent Arts, Creative Writing Competition, Suite 3, 30 Quay Street, Newport PO30 5BA, to reach the charity no later than midnight on Friday 15th June.

A shortlist of nominees will be announced on the Independent Arts website and social media platforms (independentarts.org.uk, www.facebook.com/IndependentArtsIOW/  https://twitter.com/IndependentArts) in the week commencing Monday 6th July. Winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony on Friday 10th July at The People’s Pop-up Gallery (PPUG), 33 High Street, Newport 4.30-6pm.

For full details of the competition, rules and entry form:

Jot creative writing competition

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IA Annual Report 2019


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