Successful disability art group joins forces with leading university gallery to boost creativity and wellbeing

Thursday 19 November 2020

A successful virtual art group for people with learning disabilities will partner with Kingston University’s well-respected Stanley Picker Gallery this autumn to help expand its scope and boost the social and creative wellbeing of attendees during the second lockdown.

The art group, run by learning disability charity United Response, has flourished since moving from face-to-face to online Zoom sessions during the first coronavirus lockdown and has this summer hosted its own virtual exhibition and ran a successful fundraising scheme to equip its participants with bespoke art packs.

The Gallery, located along the Hogsmill River next to Kingston School of Art, has built a strong reputation since opening in 1997 for its diverse programme of art and design Fellowships, exhibitions, and events as well as its extensive work with local schools, community groups, and students.

The partnership with United Response has been established to offer a fun, interactive and educational journey through the art world for the members of the charity’s digital group. The collaboration, which will take place in the form of a four-week project across November 2020, will see the group being given guided virtual tours of the Gallery and partnering venue the Dorich House Museum – former studio home of sculptor Dora Gordine.

Participants will also take part in a variety of workshops focusing on creating sketchbooks, badge-making and drawing skills. They will have the opportunity to meet graduating Master of Fine Arts students from Kingston University, who will also lead workshops inspired by their practice. In an effort to ensure all attendees are equipped with all the necessary materials, the Gallery is kindly donating packs containing pens, pencils, paper and other resources to all participants.

Matthew Campbell from United Response said: “We’re excited about this partnership with such a respected gallery and key part of Kingston’s art scene. Not only will it give the participants the opportunity to learn from experts about different artists and art forms, but it will also build a strong, community focused link between ourselves and the gallery. All whilst supporting the social wellbeing of some of the people we support during undoubtedly difficult times.”

Natalie Kay from Stanley Picker Gallery said: “We strive to deliver diverse and inclusive learning experiences to help audiences of all ages, background, and ability to engage with our public programmes. Lockdown life has highlighted the need to adapt and strengthen our digital offer, and it is more important than ever for us to provide opportunities for individuals to engage with their own creativity. We are excited by the chance to collaborate and experiment with United Response, and to give Kingston University students and graduates the opportunity to share their practice and gain experience working with members of our local learning disability community.”

To visit the art group’s digital exhibition and gallery, donate to the art pack scheme or find out more information about United Response, please visit https://www.unitedresponseartgallery.com/. To find out more about the Stanley Picker Gallery and the Dorich House Museum and work that they do visit https://www.stanleypickergallery.org/ or https://www.dorichhousemuseum.org.uk

ENDS

Image 1: The group session in full effect sharing their work with each other.
Image 2: Artwork created by Jake, one of the participants.

Notes to editors:

For more information, please get in touch with the United Response press team on 0208 246 5237 or at press@unitedresponse.org.uk.

About United Response:

United Response is a top 100 national charity that provides person-centred support to around 2,000 adults and young people with learning disabilities, mental health needs or physical disabilities – including some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Our vision is a society of equal rights and access where disabled people have the opportunity to live the lives they want to lead.

We provide bespoke support, from 24-hour care to a few hours a week, at around 400 locations across England and Wales. We employ approximately 4,000 staff and are regularly recognised with awards for our innovative, high quality range of services.

To find out more about United Response, please visit: www.unitedresponse.org.uk

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