The Power of Art and Creativity

Our volunteers recently enjoyed a fantastic trip to Manchester Art Gallery on 26th January.

Our Creative Programs Coordinator Anoushka organised a trip for all volunteers who come to Mustard Tree to take a guided tour of the gallery and get insider information on the artwork. Many had never visited before and had never really thought about visiting a gallery. Like museums, they hold a certain aloofness not a welcoming feel. Volunteers questioned – I don’t belong here why would I go?

The art held in galleries is not reflective of those who stand and look at it – it does not mirror the viewer. It could be showing a different time, different faces. Abstract art can make you think you’re not welcome to view it because you don’t ‘understand’ it. If you are experiencing poverty, recovering from a drug addiction, long-term unemployment or homelessness, your experiences of life are probably not shown on the walls. Our values at Mustard Tree are always about provision and progression for our volunteers and gaining self-confidence and self-worth through meaningful experiences and opportunities.

It’s not about a right or a wrong answer, it’s about your view and your perspective. Art creates equality – it doesn’t matter what language you speak, your gender or your background. The art on the wall is presented to everyone the same for your interpretation which all have equal value.

For many of our volunteers, it was their first time inside the Manchester Art Gallery. This trip showed them that they could belong, and the culture and art of this world is just as much theirs as anyone else’s. This was a brilliant experience for them and we’d like to thank the gallery for having us.

An art exhibition of our own is now on at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street, from the 14th February to the 28th. We are showcasing artworks from Little Hulton volunteers and will be showing a couple of their stories over the coming weeks in line with the exhibition. Most of the volunteers have never had artworks shown before in a public space and were so inspired by the prospect of people coming in to see what they had created. Being creative is putting out what you are and what you feel on the inside and baring it to the viewing public. To have people come to see artwork is such a confidence boost, as volunteers can see what they produce has value. When what you produce has value, you intrinsically have value. This is what we’re all about at Mustard Tree. Our volunteers have done a fantastic job and the exhibition looks amazing. Some pictures are below to show our opening day, which was a great success. The exhibition will stay open until the 28th February and it would be great to have supporters go along and see the fantastic pieces as you can see below.