Creative Minds is a social enterprise and arts organisation founded in November 2012 by James Cropper and is based in Guildford, Surrey. For over 5 years our art sessions have had a huge impact on the lives of older adults, people with learning disabilities, adults in the community and children, enabling people of all ages and abilities to explore their creativity.
Our art sessions are delivered by our passionate community of artists across the country enabling the participants to explore their creativity and create wonderful artwork with the support and guidance of an experienced artist. Our nationwide community of artists currently visit over 210 venues delivering 350 art sessions to over 1500 participants a month. As a social enterprise we have 2 important social aims which are key to what we do…
Our social aims are:
To empower and enhance people’s lives through art and creativity. We want to empower the individual and improve their well-being.
To make art accessible to everyone. We want to encourage as many people as possible to give art and crafts a go.
We are continually striving to achieve our social aims ensuring that as many people as possible can benefit from our services and access art. Every artist who joins Creative Minds believes passionately about the arts for health and well being and is aligned with our social aims.
I began exploring my artistic flair back in 2001 when I was encouraged to take an opportunity to leave full time employment and return to Further Education. The creative journey has transformed the way I view the world and I have been lucky enough to work in my local Primary School for 13 years teaching Art as one of my subjects, returning to University in 2012 to finally complete my Fine Art Degree on a part-time basis. Having graduated in 2016 I am thrilled to now be working in such a worthwhile creative business, with the network support of a great bunch of professional artists. Being able to explore such a vast range of art mediums and materials is incredible whilst sharing the joy of creativity with others.
I am also continuing to create my own mixed-media conceptual art pieces, currently exhibiting with a fantastic art group in my local area.
I graduated in 1991 with a Degree in Fine Art and Music, specialising in Sculpture, then later returned to University to complete a post graduate diploma in Youth and Community Arts in 2004.
I developed an interest in creating Art from an early age. I remember as a child spending all my spare time drawing my favourite pop stars, painting, using oil pastels and I loved using crayons to produce beautiful effects.
For the last 16 years, I have worked for a variety of charities and voluntary organisations in the UK and abroad, managing volunteers, fundraising and supporting vulnerable people affected by issues such as Drug and Alcohol dependency, Domestic Abuse and Homelessness. Within all my various roles I have endeavoured to include creativity wherever possible as well as designing charity Christmas cards.
I have also worked as a Youth worker in Youth Clubs running Arts and Crafts clubs and worked with young people who have been disengaged from education for a variety of reasons, using visual arts and drama, including mask & puppet making and graffiti art to help tackle difficult issues such as Sexual Health and low self-worth.
With all the different people I have worked with over the years, no matter what their life experiences or abilities, I have always been so heartened and pleasantly surprised how the use of visual arts can improve an individuals mood and in turn, increase confidence and self-esteem and I have often witnessed people who thought they had no creativity at all, surprise themselves by achieving so much more than they had ever imagined possible.
Working with Creative Minds gives me the opportunity to do something I love every day, as well as having a social impact by bringing visual arts to people who may no longer have the chance to take part or haven’t been involved in. I am looking forward to having many enjoyable experiences with Creative Minds and hope to help people surprise themselves too!
Our vibrant community is growing and we are always looking for artists who are supportive and compassionate to join us enabling people to explore their creativity.