Primary pupils and care home residents learn together!

Our new project bringing a schoolroom into a care home has launched. Read about it here.


Join us for Time & Tide sessions at your local library

  • Heritage of Landscape: Learn about how Neolithic man shaped the Island and try your hand at working with clay.

  • The Bawdy Georgians: Tales of smugglers and derring do! Have a go at recreating watercolours of the IOW.

See dates below:

Time & Tide library sessions


New: Arts and Heritage Café (January 2018)

Join us for our Time & Tide Arts and Heritage Cafés to explore a fabulous collection of original Roman artefacts and learn about the history of Newport's very own Roman Villa. You will have the chance to handle some beautiful objects and find out more about their history. Inspired by this trip back in time, you will have the opportunity to create your own work of art! Painting, pastels, printing, mosaics and more.

All at 10.30am–12.30pm at the following locations:

Friday 26th January 2018, Lord Louis Library, Newport

Friday 2nd February, Ryde Library

Friday 9th February, Sandown Library

Time & Tide Romans


Independent Arts tryptich collaboration unveiled

Press release, November 2017

On Friday 1st December 2017 Isle of Wight Leonard Cheshire Disability home, Appley Cliff in Shanklin, will unveil an artwork that celebrates diversity, personality and a passion for life.

It is the culmination of a joint project between Appley Cliff and Independent Arts that has been several months in the making.

Appley Cliff Activities Worker, Peter Harris, and Independent Arts Project Manager, Caroline Thorn, started their collaboration in October 2016 when Peter and the residents, fed up with the plain and neutral appearance of the residents’ dining room approached Independent Arts with a proposition to transform their dining space into a spectacular celebration of vibrant colour and contemporary design.

Talented local artist, and Independent Arts practitioner Leigh Jackman, was chosen to lead the creative process with her unique blend of textured effects and bold style.

Speaking about the project, Peter Harris said,

“The beauty of this process is that the residents have been immersed in the entire experience throughout; rather than having an artist do the work for us, Leigh has really captured a piece of each and every residents’ personality in the finished work.

“This is what makes this piece incredibly unique and truly inclusive.”

Independent Arts Project Manager Caroline Thorn said,

“It has been an absolute joy to work with all the staff and residents at Appley Cliff. This is the first time Independent Arts has undertaken such a large scale piece of work and hopefully not the last.

“Unearthing such creative talent among the residents is what really makes this project special and although this part of the project has now come to an end I see a very bright future full of more expression, more creativity and a lot more fun as our charity partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability continues.”

The final three piece triptych design has now been completed and measuring 4ft high and 18ft long is a real testament to the hard work and dedication from all involved.

A celebratory party with a grand unveiling of the artwork took place at Appley Cliff, 8 Popham Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 6RG on Friday 1st December 2017.


The Poetry of Dementia exhibition (October 2017)

The Poetry of Dementia features fragments of poetry created by residents of Isle of Wight care homes during writing workshops led by Independent Arts practitioners, which have been matched with images by Kate Ball to create a series of beautiful panels. These went on display in the homes for residents, staff and visitors to enjoy.

Independent Arts brought the work to the wider public in this fascinating exhibition held at:

  • Lord Louis Library, Orchard Street, Newport, from 25th October to 23rd November 2017
  • Full Circle restaurant at St Mary's Hospital, Newport, from 28th November to 13th December 2017

More information below.

Poetry of Dementia exhibition

Poetry exhibitionIn 2016-17 Independent Arts ran a series of creative writing workshops in six residential homes across the island. The work shown in this exhibition has been selected from the body of writing that came from those workshops. Creative writing is an expressive medium particularly suited to those in long term residential settings and living with dementia. The project involved supported sessions with qualified practitioners who mediated ideas and imaginative expression through shared discussion to create beautiful pieces of poetry.

Participants listened to poetry and music and worked with a collection of tactile and visual resourses. In putting this exhibition together we wanted to display participants' contributions with sensitivity and dignity. Text is paired with specially created images, many from island locations, which aims to interpret, rather than simply illustrate, their voices.

What we learned from working with these groups in particular is that, even under the onslaught of a debilitating cognitive illness such as dementia, the human spirit retains an enduring ability for profound self-expression, and that where vocabulary may be lost, the mind still searches and seeks out beautiful ways to express itself creatively, and poignantly.

Human beings never lose the joy of language. These panels are full of invention, rhyme and curious pairings of words that create whole new worlds of meaning populated by strange 'tilseys' and 'mowbys', where people are stricken with 'mogity bogity' and where we first encountered the word 'pigifee'!

See the gallery page for more on this exhibition.


BSO entertain residents at Island care homes with Independent Arts

Press release, September 2017

BSO logoOlder residents at four of the island’s residential care homes are to be treated to an evening of musical entertainment by musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The BSO already has an exciting programme of workshops for island schools planned during the last week in September, but thought it might be a great opportunity to also offer some musical entertainment to older people living in care homes who would rarely have the chance to listen to orchestral musicians playing together. Local arts charity Independent arts was then invited to approach four suitable residential care homes to arrange some evening performances.  

Project Manager Hannah Griffiths said:

“Some months ago Independent Arts were contacted by The Southern Music Hub regarding an outreach project that the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra were planning to bring to the Isle of Wight. We were thrilled to be able to help and always support really fruitful partnership work such as this. The care homes we invited to be involved were so pleased to receive the offer and are really looking forward to their performances.”

Musicians will be playing in small ensembles at Fairview and Vecta House in Newport, and Downside and Ward House in Ventnor, and have very generously offered their time and considerable skills free of charge. Each of the homes plan to make something of an event of the evening and have invited relatives and staff along too, so if you’re reading this and have relatives living in any of these homes but haven’t yet heard about the events please do put the date in the diary – it’s going to be a real treat!

Tuesday 26th September: Downside, Ventnor at 6pm

Tuesday 26th September: Ward House, Ventnor at 6pm

Friday 29th September: Vecta House, Newport at 6pm

Friday 29th September: Fairview, Newport at 6pm


Independent Arts wins national Arts Council grant

Press release, 27 February 2017

Local charity Independent Arts has been awarded an £85,000 grant from Arts Council England to fund their new project Time & Tide. The Celebrating Age grant will fund an exciting Island-wide programme of participatory arts to increase older people’s engagement with cultural organisations and address social isolation.

Independent Arts has a 30-year history of supporting and promoting older people’s engagement in arts activities. Working in partnership with Age UK, Southern Housing Group, local museums and libraries, Time and Tide will provide new opportunities for older people to attend creative workshops, curate pop-up exhibitions and take part in cultural site visits, enabling them to experience and participate in high-quality arts and heritage activities. Through the charity’s involvement with the Age Friendly Island initiative a training and development programme will be offered to all partners to ensure their museums are welcoming places to older people.

Kate Ball, Chief Executive of Independent Arts said:

“The Isle of Wight has long suffered from a lack of investment in its arts and cultural provision. The Celebrating Age grant will enable Independent Arts to create a dynamic Island wide programme of participation in beautiful high quality arts initiatives. All our projects are aimed at inclusion, and we hope that in our thirtieth anniversary year, with this timely support from the Arts Council our project, Time & Tide will continue to build on our core aims of engaging the most isolated and disadvantaged members of our community with the extraordinarily rich arts and cultural heritage that is such a unique part of our Island history.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

“We believe that arts and cultural activities can make a huge difference in everyone’s lives – and even more so when those people are at greater risk of isolation. Celebrating Age recognises the positive role of arts and culture in overcoming social isolation for older people; supporting them to be more engaged in their local communities, to meet people and to have fun.”

The Time & Tide project will launch in October on International Older Persons Day and run until 2019.

Find Arts Council England's press release on the project funding here.
Read more

Thank you to Comic Relief


Comic Relief logoPress release, January 2017:
Independent Arts is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a two-year grant from Comic Relief for its core work with older and disadvantaged people on the Isle of Wight.

Chief Executive Kate Ball said, "We are extremely grateful to Comic Relief for choosing to support our work at this time.

"Independent Arts celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year and the grant will allow us to build on our previous achievements and prepare ourselves for the next two years and beyond.

"Specifically, we will be able to develop services through our Build from Strength project in order to reach more of the growing ageing population of the Island.

"We know that these are challenging times for small charities and that nationally competition for this funding was extremely fierce, so we are very proud that Independent Arts has been successful in its bid. We look forward to working with Comic Relief and our fellow grantees."

New Monthly SingAbout for Bembridge and Yarmouth

In addition to our weekly SingAbout sessions, we have a fortnightly session in Sandown and new monthly sessions in Bembridge and Yarmouth.
Read more



Independent Arts offers a support service to charities and not for profit organisations through our iCreate strand.
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Independent Arts for everyone

Did you know Independent Arts works with small groups and individuals as well as in residential homes?

We can help you arrange music sessions, art classes, photography classes, themed reminiscence sessions and chair-based movement sessions. See our Workshops pages for ideas.

If you are part of an organisation or group and would like to book a practitioner, please
contact us

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What's On?

Find out what's going on this week. Here's our calendar of all Independent Arts' regular community sessions

Independent Arts Calendar


WightAid supports Anxiety Café

Thanks to WightAid for donating £1000 towards Independent Arts' Anxiety Café. Here is WightAid's Steve Porter presenting the cheque to Independent Arts' project manager Hannah Griffiths.

WightAid cheque


Thank you Co-op shoppers!

Co-op shoppers raised a whopping £1402.87 for Independent Arts' weekly Creative Café project in 2017 through the the Co-op's community fund. Thank you for choosing to support Independent Arts!

Coop Community Fund cheque presentation

Fundraising focus

David's Big Run

A huge thank you to David Waller, who set himself the challenge of running all the way from the Isle of Wight to Bath in Somerset during May 2017, raising more than six hundred pounds for Independent Arts! David is a regular at our Ventnor SingAbout group and says,

"The sessions are led by Creative Practitioner Lizzie Flynn who is so vibrant and inspiring and I love attending. Recently Independent Arts asked if anyone would be interested in fundraising for them. Independent Arts is such a small charity on the Isle of Wight but have always enabled their community groups to remain free for everyone to attend. I thought what a perfect way to help them raise money and continue the valuable work they do."

Inspired? It's easy to get started with fundraising for Independent Arts. Please check out our fundraising ideas page or contact us for more information.


Getting Creative in Care Toolkit available

Our Toolkit for care home activities coordinators, packed full of ideas and guidance for running activities, is available to download.
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