Art Works has changed my life! But before I begin to explain how, I need to say a few things about my life before the course.
At the age of 14 I lost my mother, this affected me more than anyone could imagine. Once the storm had passed I decided I would move out of my family home, drop out of school and begin my working life. I worked full-time from 14 right the way through until 20.
At the age of 19 I began to notice deterioration in my mental health, and by the age of 20 it became so severe that I was in fact unable to work or live on my own accord. After an admission to a mental health hospital I was diagnosed with EUPD, which can be triggered by dramatic trauma in young adults and teenagers. After a year of being unemployed I started to think there was no way I would ever fit into any group or work environment again. Then came Art Works!
In October 2010 a supporter from the Richmond Fellowship suggested I apply for a course they had seen advertised. I applied but really didn’t think I would have any hopes at even passing the interview stage. To my surprise I was accepted onto the course and had my first day in November of 2010.
Art Works has shown me that I’m not the only one who has had bad experiences in life, or illnesses. It has made me realise I am not alone.
One part of the course I really enjoyed were the site visits to galleries such as Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the V&A. I’ve had the opportunity to see things I never thought I would have the chance to see, and try things I never thought I would even want to.
The most enjoyable section of the course for me has been photography workshops with Ed Thompson, it’s something I knew I had an interest in but never thought I was any good at. Shortly after the first session with Ed I was filled with confidence that I was good enough. Closer to the end of Art Works I was ‘lucky’ enough to witness a fire, I got my camera out and managed to take a picture that was used as a front page spread in a local paper! This has given me such a confidence boost! I can’t explain how Art Works has changed my life, its sounds silly but it has, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
Everyone who is involved in Art Works has been a huge support to me, at the end of 2010 I lost a friend very close to me, and the support I received from Hannah, Steve and everyone involved was priceless. They helped me and my progression more than I could have hoped.
The art sessions with Sarah Spencer very interesting, it was brilliant to be able to have resources to create whatever we wanted or imagined, and that they didn’t cost us anything.
Finally, Art Works has been a brilliant way to expand or renew my previous knowledge in subjects such as Health and Safety, Food Safety, First Aid, Retail and Welcome Host.
It has been a privilege to be a part of this course and I am sad it has come to an end. However, I am now a full-yime Gallery Assistant at the Turner Contemporary!
Post by Samuel L Rudd, Art Works course participant
Art Works was a fifteen week course for thirty local unemployed people in Thanet. Funded by Thanet Works, the course provided participants with core skills for working in a public facing role.
Out of the 24 participants who completed the Art Works course, 18 have joined Turner Contemporary in some form of paid employment. Through this, 5 people have been able to come off off out-of-work benefits.