If you had told me 3 years ago everything that I would accomplish as a result of Open Arts I would probably have laughed at you! What I have done during my time with Open Arts would have seemed impossible, inconceivable even. But the fact remains that I have done them. I have had 2 day trips to London, I have done Village Green twice, I have taken responsibility for being ‘in charge’ of the studio on a Wednesday afternoon (the volunteer led day), I have volunteered on 5 Digital Art courses at Metal (and am currently doing a sixth), I have helped set up Art Trails, I have put together slideshows for exhibition at the Beecroft Art Gallery, I have… the list just goes on and on.
Three years ago this would never have been possible. I was lost. Consumed by my illness. I could barely talk to anybody, I never made eye contact, my anxiety and depression were overwhelming. Open Arts has given me back some control over my life and I will be forever grateful to everyone involved. When I think how close I was to turning round and coming home instead of walking in that first day of the Art course… But right from the start Jo Keay did everything in her power to put me at ease, to reassure me. She and her volunteers gave me support, they gave me the confidence to have a go. And from there I have just gone from strength to strength. I am now unrecognisable from the person that I was that first day. People that were on the course with me have commented on how different I am now.
Yes, I still have bad days. I still struggle, especially with social situations, but the difference in me is amazing. And I owe it all to Open Arts. They have given me a little confidence in my own abilities, they have given me everything. I know it sounds melodramatic but I honestly believe that Open Arts has given me my life back. And I can never thank them enough. Getting involved with Open Arts is the best thing I have ever done and I think it is so sad that some people are denied the opportunity to get involved with Open Arts because of lack of funding.
Open Arts volunteer