Art project shortlisted for national Hearts for the Arts Award

February 3, 2020

A project which helps people improve and maintain their mental health and well-being through art has been shortlisted for a national award.

Open Arts, managed by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), has reached the final four in the category of Best Arts Project in the Hearts for the Arts Awards.

The community-based project, which is part-funded by Essex County Council, offers carers and people with mental health needs the chance to take part in a 12-week course to learn new art skills in a safe and protective environment.

It aims to help people move forward by challenging the stigma of mental health, promoting confidence and self-esteem and introducing them to people from a variety of backgrounds with a shared love of art.

The courses give those taking part the chance to try taster sessions in visual arts including drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture and craft as well as opportunities to visit art galleries and showcase their work at local exhibitions.

The Hearts for Arts Awards celebrate unsung heroes who champion the arts, often against a backdrop of financial challenge.

Open Arts is a registered charity and operates on external funding from organisations as well as donations and funds raised by volunteers and local businesses.

Jo Keay, Open Arts Manager, said: “The team is absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for this award. It means so much to everyone who has helped fly the Open Arts flag over the years and helped make a difference to thousands of Essex residents.

“Open Arts allows those who take part in the programme to use art as a tool on which to focus and learn from. It acts as a stepping stone to help improve and maintain mental health and wellbeing through creative learning, social inclusion, and self-expression.

“I would like to thank the team at Essex County Council’s Cultural Strategic Fund, all of the artists, studio managers, participants and volunteers, past and present, who continue to support the Open Arts. We couldn’t do it without you!”

The team will find out if they have been successful in the Hearts for the Arts Awards on 14
February, 2020.

If you can help support Open Arts or would like information about how you can, please contact Jo Keay, Open Arts manager on 07580 982 462 or

You can donate to Open Arts via the Charities Aid Foundation. Simply search for Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Charities or 1053793. Please make sure you type For Open Arts in the message box.