The Art of WellbeingA unique art exhibition will showcase the creative talents of local mental health patients later this month.

The prestigious Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, will host ‘The Art of Wellbeing’ from 19 April to 8 May.

Organised by Dorset HealthCare’s Bournemouth East Community Mental Health Team, the exhibition will feature contributions from people who find artwork helps them manage their condition or supports their recovery.

Though mainly paintings and drawings, the display will also include sculptures, photographs and poetry – with, in some cases, accompanying text from the artist explaining the inspiration behind the work and the benefits art can bring.

One contributor said: “Ever since I was a child drawing has always been a powerful emotional outlet for me… …I have always done my best work when I am very depressed and experiencing severe anxiety. I am able to channel all of my emotions into my work and I feel privileged that something positive comes out of something as negative as depression.”

More than 25 people have contributed to the exhibition, which will be on display in the café gallery. Entry to the gallery is free, though donations are welcome.
Dr Sudipto Das, consultant psychiatrist for Dorset HealthCare, said: “Many of the people in our care have very serious debilitating illnesses, and – in some cases – art can be very therapeutic.

“Some are self-taught, while others have had formal training. Either way, the results are fascinating, and the fact that such a great venue is putting their work on public display is a major boost to their self-confidence.”

Sally Richmond, community occupational therapist with the Trust, added: “We have never done anything like this before and, if it is a success, we would like to give other patients the same opportunity. We hope people will go along and have a look.”

Russell-Cotes is open 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday. For more details, go to http://russellcotes.com/

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