The Art Lady Project bringing people together to combat elderly loneliness

Eve Turner-Lee believes that art is for everyone and that anyone can do it.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 1:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 9:57 pm
One of the art groups

Every Tuesday, during term time, she holds inclusive art sessions in Brighton where anyone can come and be creative for a couple of hours.

In 2013 Eve did a masters in Inclusive Art which included a section where they had to arrange group sessions.“I did a fine art degree but I got to the end of it and thought ‘what was that about?’. “It was very conceptual, so when I saw the masters I knew I had to do it as it brought together all my experiences from previous jobs and my passion for art.”

As part of the MA they did projects with artists with learning disabilities through Rocket Artists, who Eve still works with at their studio at the Phoenix Art Centre in Brighton.

Eve Turner Leigh

In 2014 she set up the The Art Lady Project which provides creative art and craft workshops for marginalised groups in Brighton and Hove. The link with venue Leach Court (sheltered housing) in Brighton, came from when Eve worked as a home help for the elderly.Eve said: “I was helping a lady who was going blind in a sheltered housing scheme and she would come down to the laundry room with me and always commented about how quiet it was and that nothing really went on.“It surprised me how lonely she was when you think she lived in sheltered housing where they all live together in the same place but unless there is something going on they don’t tend to socialise.”

Although the group was started through her degree once she neared the end of the course the people asked if the group could continue.She said: “The groups get people talking, but some just want to get on with it and will come, sit and work.“All of them love the fact that it gets them working with their hands”

Starting at 2pm and running until 4pm there is no theme to the sessions, some people carry on with projects they are working on or start something new.“Many people haven’t done art since school and say ‘oh I can’t draw but I say to them just pick up some clay and see what happens.“There is no judgement it is about being creative.”

Most of the people who do the sessions are over 50 but there is no restriction on who can attend.Eve said: “It is nice to get a mix of people in.”

Artwork - The Turning Point

Eve’s passion for art started at a young age and she says she was always creative.After having children she decided to get the job as a home help and had art as a hobby as she didn’t know how she could make money.

It was the masters degree that piqued her interest again. “I do sometimes have the fear though,” she said.“For me art was about being on my own doing my work in private, so having to stand up in front of everyone has been quite nerve wrecking, but I try my best and as I say to the people taking part there is no pressure.”This doubt in the past has also led to Eve reassessing running the courses.“The numbers dwindled and I wasn’t sure whether to continue but I got a pep talk from someone who told me that I needed to keep going and that is where the comic strip turning point came from.“I went out there and told people about the sessions, got extra tables and sure enough more people came and have continued to come.”

The sessions are £6 and this includes all materials and refreshments, and all are welcome.

For more information on Eve, her work and the sessions visit eturnerlee.com

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