We are Artbox London - a charity and social enterprise that supports people with learning disabilities and autism to create, exhibit and sell their artwork and get involved with the arts. It's a fairly simple concept: we provide space, materials and fantastic support for the artists to create their masterpieces. The art is then exhibited and sold online and at exhibitions, where members of the public get to meet artists with learning disabilities, see great art and buy a unique piece for their home or office. Profits from sales are split between the organisation and the artists, meaning that we can continue our work and the artists, who are often excluded from the workforce, get to experience making money from their skills!
"Until I could come to Artbox, I felt very low but this picks me up on the weekend, at least I can come out and make some art. When I make art I feel relaxed. I feel like an artist. It makes me feel confident within myself to make more art. It also felt very nice to know that I am getting recognised for my paintings." - Mathew, an Artbox artist
Until recently we were sharing a studio with 13 other groups, meaning we had very little time and space to develop. Artists only had two hours a week to meet their friends and create artwork and even worse, we couldn't use the studio in school holidays. For some of our artists, this meant that they had no regular activities in this period!
However, after a very long wait, we finally moved into our own studio in Islington - something we've been dreaming of since we opened in 2011!
The studio has SO much potential and we're unbelievably excited about the transformation from a dark and dreary space to a bright and inspiring art studio & gallery, that will enable members of the public to pop in and see the amazing work being created.
And did we mention that we're going to be able to increase the hours from 8 hours a week for 36 weeks a year to 20 hours a week for 48 weeks a year. A HUGE increase that will have an even bigger impact on the people we work with.
Why we need help:
The space is a bit dark and depressing - our tables even contain some pretty depressing graffiti: 'terror', 'fear', 'anger', and so on. They also wobble loads which is not great for creating delicate drawings and paintings. Oh and our wheelchair users can't get round them unless everyone moves. Not great if they want to go to the toilet!
The chairs have also been problematic - many don't fit under the tables, they're not stackable and some have nails sticking out of them!
There's also no ramp to get in the studio, no shelving or drawers to store materials and artwork and bad lighting. We also need a good hanging system for the art so we can have regular exhibitions.
So with your help, we'll be transforming a drab studio into our dream studio!
What we'll use the money for:
With your help, we'll be able to purchase new tables and chairs, shelving, storage for materials and finished pieces, lighting, signs so people can easily find us, a ramp, a hanging system for art and support in our first year with the rent, utilities and insurance.
We'd love it if you could donate to our project and be part of the transformation.
As a thank you for your donation we will give you an item made by one of our artists (which will be delivered before Christmas):
£10 will get you not one but three lovely little notebooks with a unique Egyptian design by Lee:
For £20, we'll send you a hand-printed tote bag (designs courtesy of Shruti, Toyin, Alex and Lucy):
£30 will get you a piece of A4 artwork of your choice (just visit our online shop, pick the print and we'll deliver):
If you pledge £45, we'll send you an A3 sized piece of art of your choice (just visit our online shop, pick the print and we'll deliver):
Pledge £55 and you'll get an A2 sized piece of art of your choice (just visit our online shop, pick the print and we'll deliver):
And for £100 and over, you'll get a range of gifts from Artbox as well as invites to special events, exhibitions and the launch of our studio, where you'll be able to see the difference your donation has made in person!