Art Therapy Cafe

by boccollective in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 25th June 2018 we successfully raised £3,060 with 50 supporters in 42 days

A fresh concept bringing art therapy to the 'high street', offering the public free mental health support in an accessible environment.

by boccollective in London, England, United Kingdom

Project overview

Ball of Chalk, a London art collective, is embarking on an inventive new project to develop an Art Therapy café in one of London’s most deprived areas. Targeted at people who are experiencing difficulties with homelessness, alcohol and mental health but open to all members of the public, the Art Therapy Café will break down barriers to accessing creative therapy and provide a supportive, welcoming and inclusive environment on the high street. The Art Therapy Café will take place in an existing café in Haringey,  North London,that caters for people who experience mental health  difficulties.

Why it’s a great idea

Everyone can benefit  from the time and space to improve their mental wellbeing, but  unfortunately there are many barriers which can deter people from  acquiring the support they need. Private therapy is quick to access but  expensive, whereas lack of resources in the NHS and charitable sector  means long wait-times to be seen, and time-limited treatment.

We  wish to provide a new model of art psychotherapy: art therapy on the  ‘high street’. This is an approach that is rarely taken, as therapy is  often seen as a provision for people who are extremely unwell and takes  place in institutionalised settings, such as hospitals, mental health  facilities, schools, prisons and care homes. We want to shake up how  therapy is viewed and hope that this model will have a far reaching  impact on the art therapy community and mental health services more  broadly.

In addition to our existing networks, we will promote the offer through local GP’s, community centres and art therapy circles.

The nitty gritty

The Art Therapy Café will operate for half a day (1-5pm), once a week. Upon arrival, customers will be greeted with an explanation about art therapy, helpful guidelines to follow whilst using the space (including confidentiality), art work from previous customers, and complimentary tea and biscuits.

A number of touch-points will be available for customers to access therapy:

  • X1 Art Therapist will double up as a waiter/waitress and will be on-hand to provide individual support.
  • X1 Art Therapist in Residence will be making art throughout the day, with a number of empty chairs to encourage therapy within a group.
  • Art Therapy exercises will be made available on tables to encourage customers to use the available art materials.

Exhibitions and events programme

The Art Therapist in Residence will create an exhibition of their work in response to their time at the café, and will organise an accompanying events programme.

What we will deliver

Employment of two art therapists for half a day per week (one of whom is art therapist in residence.)

Purchase art materials and free tea and biscuits for sessions.

Create marketing materials to promote within the local area.

Create a programme of exhibition events

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is a form of  psychotherapy which encourages expression of feelings and emotions  through the medium of art.  Art materials can include paints, pencils,  collage and clay, as well as a whole host of other materials. Sessions  take place on a one-to-one basis or in a group, in the presence of an  Art Therapist. Their role is to enable self-expression through use of  the art materials, and facilitate discussion around the artwork and any  feelings that arise. Unlike an art lesson, where the emphasis is on the  end product, in art therapy it is the process of making art which is the  primary focus. For this reason, no previous art experience is  necessary.

Art Therapy can be beneficial to everyone, young or  old. It is often used to help people with mental health, behavioural and  emotional difficulties, learning and physical disabilities, and  physical illnesses.

About Ball of Chalk

Ball of Chalk is a London-based collective challenging perceptions of how and where art is viewed and experienced. Founded by two art therapists, we have a particular interest in the power of art to bring about insight and transformation.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

Coffee and cake

Come in and get a coffee and cake on the house.

£40 or more

9 of 50 claimed

Launch event invite

Get a free coffee, cake and an invite to the launch event.

£100 or more

11 of 20 claimed

Limited edition print

Get a signed limited edition print by a Ball of Chalk artist.

£500 or more

Become a patron

Become a patron and get 30% off any artwork for sale at exhibitions as well as a signed limited edition print.

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