Your lockdown art goes on national tour

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More than 600 works of art sent in by amateur artists stuck in lockdown are to be sent on a national tour by the Southbank Centre.

The Art by Post: unlocking creativity for our well-being exhibition began in May 2020 as a Southbank Covid initiative to alleviate isolation and loneliness and promote health and well-being during lockdown and brought responses from 4,500 at risk. It has been delivered in partnership with the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) and supported by the World Health Organisation as well as 13 venues around the country and more than 150 domestic referral partners.

The exhibition will open on September 20 before touring the country for five months. Today’s announcement coincides with the start of a strategic parentship between the Southbank Centre and the NASP, set up in 2019, which is to be based at the Southbank.

Picture credits: above, and main image by Kate Elliott; below by Eon Carey

"The hugely successful Art by Post project has clearly demonstrated the positive benefit that art can have on people’s wellbeing” said NASP’s CEO, James Sanderson. “Connecting people to art projects like this is one way that social prescribing link workers can support people, alongside their existing health plans. We’re delighted to be working with the Southbank Centre on this exhibition, demonstrating the power of art and enabling more people and communities to connect to art for their health and wellbeing.”

The scheme predates the Covid crisis, being launched two years ago as part of the Southbank’s Arts and Wellbeing programme, formally launched at the venue’s Creative Health Conference that brought together artists, practitioners, funds and policy makers in the arts and health sectors.

As part of its commitment to social prescribing, promoting the potential of creativity in people’s lives to help with their health and well-being, the scheme saw specially commissioned activity booklets organised by themes such as: nature, hope, sound and movement sent to participants.

“Since starting the Art by Post and putting words down on paper, especially the poems, it seems to be much easier” one participant said. “You have brought out a part of me that has laid hidden for virtually all my life, so for that alone, I thank you.”

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