Animation alumni Kit Man graduated in 2009 and has since gone on to co-found the Arts and Mental Health Charity Artspace Brighton with Abi Jones in 2013.
The acronym stands for: Assisting Recovery Through Supportive Participatory Art and Community Engagement.
“At Artspace we increase opportunities for people with experience of mental health issues to engage with art activities in a stable and supportive space. We encourage our studio members to decide which creative avenues they wish to pursue, with guidance tailored to their individual interests. Through developing new skills and exploring their creativity, the members of our studio can boost their self-esteem and gain a newfound sense of purpose and meaning in life. At Artspace we combat isolation for people with mental health issues by providing a place in the community where people can develop a sense of belonging and build social and peer networks.
Alongside the project’s studio-based activities, we also support our members to access art galleries and events as well as offering regular ‘Walk and Draw’ outings in the Sussex countryside. Additionally, we initiate opportunities for our studio members to publicly exhibit their own art work. Through dong this, we intend to showcase their talents and open up positive and inclusive dialogues with the public, which will in turn reduce prejudice and misunderstanding around mental health issues.
• To provide a stable and supportive studio space for people with experience of mental health issues, who are interested in exploring their creativity and developing their art practice.
• To equip people with new artistic skills whilst also encouraging freedom of expression and the pursuit of individual practices.
• To encourage people to develop their identities as artists or studio members, rather than ‘service users’ or ‘patients’.
• To address the outdated mode of ‘us’ and ‘them’ working in mental health services whilst ensuring a supportive and considered approach to people’s recovery process.
• To combat isolation, by provide a space in the community for people to build social networks and gain a sense of belonging.
• To equip people with the confidence and transferable skills which might enable them to seek further training, education or employment.”
Kit is currently preparing to do the Brighton Color Run 2016 on Saturday the 17th of September to raise fund for Brighton Artspace. They are hoping to raise £2500 to be used for materials and equipment for the members of the studio. They are also hoping to be able to purchase equipment to make their regular Walk and Draw outings into the Sussex countryside more accessible to all those involved. Funds raised will also go towards mini-bus hire and admittance fees to take the members of our group to art galleries and events, as well as towards the costs of framing and publicity for any future Artspace exhibitions.