Big campaign helps Sheffield Art House wellbeing charity to survive

The Art House in Sheffield has managed to reopen its doors following a fundraising campaign to help it survive lockdown.

Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 10:00 am

The city centre charity, based in Backfields, found creative ways to raise £20,000 and is more than £17,600 towards that goal.

The project works with marginalised people, using creative arts to help people find a sense of wellbeing.

The primary source of funding is public art and ceramics classes, so urgent measures had to be taken when that was lost to the pandemic to prevent permanent closure.

Art House pottery manager Mike Scown and tutor Krishna Alageswaran

Prominent Sheffield artists such as Pete McKee, Joe Scarborough, Coralie Turpin, Karen Hessenberg and James Green joined dozens of creatives in giving their support, including donating work to be sold in The Big Yorkshire Art Auction.

Mike Scown, pottery manager at The Art House, committed to throwing 1,000 small pots as a reward for anyone who donated £10 or more to the charity’s Go Fund Me page.

Big Shaun of Sheffield’s Everly Pregnant Brothers read a poem written by the centre’s wellbeing manager Tara Brown to encourage people to donate.

She says in The Heart of the City:

Tom James, Pottery Open Studio Member, at the Open Up event last year

“In the hustle of the city and amongst our little team

Don't let our hopes run out, and together let's chase the dream

That in the heart of the city the Art House can remain

Because a City without art would never feel the same”.

A still life class set up at the Art House

Throughout lockdown The Art House ran The Big Art Lock In. A Facebook community posed regular art challenges to help stay connected to the people who use their services as well as promoting mental health and wellbeing to the wider public through the cognitive benefits of art and creativity.

Alongside this the charity also created The Little Art Lock In, specifically aimed at children and supporting parents in keeping kids balanced and entertained.

The charity has also set up a Facebook community for its autistic photography group. Daily photography challenges have enabled the group to continue to be connected and engaged.

Two hundred creativity packs were sent out to wellbeing participants, alongside weekly Zoom classes.

Staff have also kept in regular contact with the people who rely on their services by phone.

Despite managing to get through lockdown by changing the way the charity raises funds, the team still face an uphill struggle.

The challenge now is to bring people back to the creative classes and workshops that help make them self-sufficient.

Tara said: “It’s been a really tough time for small charities, so we’re thrilled to be opening our doors again.

"On behalf of us and the people that rely on our services we can’t thank everyone who helped enough.

We’re not out of the woods yet though, lack of cashflow is still a major threat to our survival.

"We’ve responded by putting together a wide range of brilliant online and socially-distanced creative courses.

"There’s something for everyone, ranging from painting and pottery to mindful photography and mosaics.

We’re hoping people will join us to continue fighting to save The Art House so we can carry on our important work in the future.”

For information, contact Lisa Parkes or Daisy Tann on 0114 221 8978/07454 849149 or email [email protected]

Donation link to the GoFundMe campaign:

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