Angus Creative Minds
Angus Creative Minds formed as an asset locked 'not for profit' Company Limited by Guarantee in March 2019. Some of us first met in November 2018, when along with others we decided we wanted to make something happen in Angus in the east of Scotland as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in 2019.
A Creative Centre to Benefit Health and Wellbeing
While developing the idea, and coordinating the preparations for an exhibition in Angus called 'A Celebration of Creativity' as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, a number of us recognised how much creativity can improve everyone's health, wellbeing and sense of purpose and the need in Angus for a creative centre focused on this.
Trained and exhibiting artists creating work alongside people who might be trying something for the first time, or someone with significant life challenges. Someone who uses art for expression sitting near someone picking up a paint brush for the first time since school days. All sharing skills and being part of our creative community.
Turning an Idea into Reality
After a number of open meetings, we successfully applied for some pilot funding through the Health & Social Care Partnership for the period October 2019 - March 2020. In September 2019 we received funding, meaning our vision started to turn into reality in October 2019.
We started moving into premises on 1st October 2019. While we have faced a range of challenges, with lots of hard work from a team of dedicated volunteers we adapted the premises to create a display space, creative work space, a calm room, and a bring and share kitchen.
We opened on 18th October with Making an Exhibition of Ourselves, one wall of our exhibition space had been boarded out to a gallery standard, and all walls were freshly painted. Our visitors and members have been making use of the creative space, display space and bring and share kitchen since October 2019 - expressing themselves through creativity, making use of the assorted equipment and resources we have available.
Our 3 part time staff have been employed since November, and work a total of 32 hours between them. Combined with the involvement of volunteers we are able to open for 35 - 40 hours a week, with half of these being in the evenings and on weekends.
As part of our commitment to opening when many places are closed, we were open on 25th December as 'Just Another Day' for anyone to come along who might otherwise be alone, or who chose to avoid the pressures of the festive period. We were also open as usual (and for longer hours) throughout the 2 week festive period.
Work in Progress
Just as each of us is a work in progress, so is adapting the premises we are using, with our members and volunteers and the local community all playing a part. Our digital editing suite is nearing completion with desk space being made from re-purposed wood and materials donated to Angus Creative Minds.
Our garden space will soon be re-created, and our woodworking workshop is being prepared for use.
Connected to our Local Community
Angus Creative Minds is valued by our visitors and members, and our local community. In addition to over 1,000 hours of volunteer time and effort given to Angus Creative Minds between October and December 2019, we have received many donations of materials and equipment - showing how many people in our creative community value Angus Creative Minds.
Not only do we value the time and materials gifted to Angus Creative Minds, we are also touched by feedback from our members and visitors.
Examples of feedback received include
"Pure, dead, brill" "I miss Angus Creative Minds when I can't get'
"You have sparked a wee flame in me" "I enjoy the company and hospitality"
"Loved the writing workshop - amazingly therapeutic"
"It's good that at last there's something that is outside the 'normal' on my doorstep"
Many visitors become members, and many also volunteer.
Valuing Everyone's Creativity Equally
We value everyone's creativity equally, whether someone is trying something for the first time, or they've been through art college - whether for recreation or distraction or as a way of coping with life's various challenges. Everyone has a place and can feel part of our creative community where 'No Labels' is at the heart of our approach.
As we prepare for the next financial year, we are busy applying for grant funding, and recognise that finding a grant funder to cover our all of our core costs is a challenge. So we are asking for support through crowdfunding towards covering the rent, heat light and power, IT and other premises related costs.