Join our Community in 2021!

May 26, 2021

We’re happy to announce that Creative Minds is back and ready to rock and roll!

It’s fair say that the last 18 months have been a bit of a disaster for Creative Minds (as it has been for many small businesses). Last March our CM Artists and their sessions were cancelled with immediate effect as the care sector and then the whole of the UK (or world for that matter) was plunged into Lockdown as the pandemic started to take hold. Fear, uncertainty and despair started to take hold and was further compounded when we all understood what was going on much more clearly, and thus realised that this not going to be a quick recovery. There is however the promise of recovery and the light at the end of tunnel certainly feels within reach now due to the fantastic vaccination rollout.

Creative Minds is a wee bit smaller in size than it was prior to the pandemic, but we still have some wonderful artists that have stuck by the organisation, me, Sarah and the community and we’re really thankful that they’ve stayed! Creative Minds wouldn’t be here without – you. Like many people throughout the pandemic, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect an think deeply about what has happened, what I could have done better and what can be changed to improve Creative Minds for the future and as we move into this ‘new normal’ (that people keep harping on about 😉).

For Creative Minds to grow, prosper and scale, which has always been my vision for the company, it’s model will need to adapt to this new digital landscape we’re in. Gone is the Franchise and in is the Membership. This is part of my new vision of what a franchise is or can be, something that’s much more affordable for people, therefore much more accessible but yet retains some of the fantastic elements that made Creative Minds great – the community, and that support network. One of the key differences is that artists can become ‘members’ i.e. Creative Minds Artists, across the world and can leverage the Artsflow platform (booking and payment system) whilst they build their creative businesses.

So without further or do, I’ll go into the details of the Creative Minds Membership

Our Training Costs £250 and will be delivered by Sarah, Head of Community Development.

In our online training you will learn how to:

  • Build your Creative Minds business.
  • Market & Sell yourself to prospective clients.
  • Learn about best practices when delivering your art sessions.
  • How to diversify your business by approaching and working with different clients.
  • Learn about the various marketing tools & means to build your business.
  • Learn about the Artsflow platform and how to onboard your clients.
  • Administer your business using the various tools & templates we’ve created.

Our monthly Membership fee is £25 & includes our Membership Pack:

  • Creative Minds Email Address (via Google Workspace)
  • Bi-weekly calls & messaging support from Sarah for first 3 months (conference/video calls)
  • Access to files, docs & templates (via Google Drive)
  • Access to our two Facebook Community Groups
  • Branded Apron & Name Badge

Marketing materials will need to be ordered separately by artists, and all of our templates will be available in Google Drive.

Business cards, facebook profile & cover images can be ordered separately by artists and are designed by a freelance graphic designer.

Our first training of the year is on Thursday 1st & Friday 2nd July and if you’d like to join us and the other artists please get in touch by completing a ‘Membership Application Form’ on our Membership page (this page and the form will be changing soon to reflect the above changes).

We really look forward to hearing from you and helping you to start your creative journey with Creative Minds!

Thank you for reading. 😊

James.

Creative Minds Regional Meetings!

March 5, 2020

Last year we started organising Regional Meetings for the community, which have been a great opportunity for the artists to get together, discuss their business, share ideas and support each other in addition to our twice yearly Community Meetings.

Artists have enjoyed discussing opportunities in their localities and the potential of collaborating with one another on the delivery of projects. We have a buzzing online forum where our artist community regularly chat and share ideas, but nothing beats a face-to-face catch up!

So far we’ve had Regional Meetings in the South East, South West, Midlands and Northern England, and we will be organising more over the coming months.

Leicestershire based CM Artist Alison described the Midlands meet up that took place on the 15th Feb; “Four of us met in Leicester at The Van Gogh Immersive Experience. Only two of us had met before so it was a great way to feel comfortable in each other’s company, talking about what we all love, art!”

regional meeting

“Afterwards we found a small cafe to have lunch with some comfy seats, as we wanted to get to know each other better and discuss our businesses. We shared many ideas and positive experiences and soon realised that we all had different skills and expertise, which could help each other with in areas of our businesses. We plan to meet up again and have remained in contact.”

“It can be quite isolated at times being self-employed and this arranged meeting paid for by Creative Minds, has helped us to realise that friends are not far away and we are all there for each other.”

On 7th December, 6 CM Artists based in the South East had their Regional Meeting at the Woods Restaurant in The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells.

regional meeting

CM Artist Sarah Ackroyd commented; “It was a jolly festive lunch and we all listened to each other’s news and shared tips and techniques. Lots of chocolate tart was consumed and I really enjoyed the meeting, putting names to faces!”

Up in Leeds, 4 Northern based CM artists had their Regional Meeting on 25th November at the Tetley Gallery, where they enjoyed lunch and then went on to explore the exhibitions.

regional meeting

CM Artist Sarah W, based in Cheshire said; “We spent a few hours chatting and getting to know each other. I felt a real sense of community, it’s great to meet our “colleagues” and chat face-to-face so even though we work for ourselves we are not alone.”

CM Artist Caroline & Judy based in Salisbury, Wiltshire attended the South West Regional Meeting on 9th November, where a group of artists met at the Royal West of England Academy to view the latest exhibitions and enjoy a bite to eat together.

regional meeting

Caroline said; “‘It was great to meet up with other artists from our region and discover how much joy we all get from bringing art to residents in care homes and other settings, and seeing how much they enjoy it!”

If you would love to be part of our wonderful artist community, please feel free to request a Franchise Booklet and complete a Franchise Application on our ‘Franchise’ page – www.creativeminds.art/franchise/ . We look forward to hearing from you!

A Day in the Life of Creative Minds Artist: Sarah Jane

November 4, 2019
creative minds artist
Sarah Jane on an Art Trip she’s organised for one of her care home clients

How long have you been a Creative Minds Artist?

I joined in February 2016, so approaching 4 years.

Tell us what you’ve been up to today.

Today has been really varied: this morning I delivered a session for the lovely MindforYou supported holidays (for people living with dementia and their relatives/carers), in Corfe Castle, East Dorset.

This afternoon I was at one of my regular homes near Dorchester, then did my third session of the day with two young chaps, in a local, supported living home.

In their art session they choose the music too, which can vary from Johnny Cash to Pink Floyd! Sometimes we theme it to the session: we painted peacocks, so the music was The Byrds!

creative minds artist
Sarah delivering her Mindforyou session
creative minds artist

What would a typical week look like to you?

I deliver 6 or 7 sessions a week, normally leaving the house about 9.45am – this gives me time to walk our dog by the river (invaluable contemplation time!).

I tend to stay local or travel West, towards Lyme Regis, on a Tuesday, then East (Dorchester, Weymouth) on Wednesdays and Thursdays. But there really isn’t a typical week, each one is different, which I love! I probably spend about half a day a week on admin – planning sessions, invoicing, sourcing supplies etc.

Organising my sessions like this also gives me at least one day a week to work in my studio on my own practice.

creative minds artist
Artwork created by participants in her sessions
creative minds artist

Tell us a little about your own personal creative practice as an artist.

I’m a mixed media artist and just taken part in our local, Bridport, Open Studios event, with a friend. My conservatory is transformed into a gallery space and the public can peek inside my garden studio! We had over 120 visitors and I sold quite a few pieces of work including mixed media, printmaking and jewellery.

My abstract work is playful and humorous, bold and experimental. Bright colours, industrial lines and texture are at the core of my sculptural and mixed media work. The nearby Jurassic coastline heavily influences my work.

What first attracted you to the franchise opportunity?

The flexibility and being able to use art in a fun, therapeutic way. Being able to manage my own diary – I’ve been self-employed for years now and enjoy the autonomy, but relish the fantastic support and community you gain as a Creative Minds Artist.

What do you like most about being a Creative Minds Artist?

The moment when folks smile at seeing their finished work! All the lovely feedback, that it’s “relaxing”, “takes me out of myself”, “I didn’t realize I could paint!” It really can change people in a positive way. I often say, even if I won the lottery, I’d still want to deliver the art sessions!

creative minds artist
The Art Gallery at Somerleigh Court Nursing Home in Dorchester

Read ‘A Day in the Life of Creative Minds Artist: Laura Novak’ here: http://159.65.94.31/creative-minds-artist-laura-novak/

Creative Minds at the Tate Exchange!

April 7, 2019

In May 2018 a number of CM Artists worked on an exciting art project at the Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange led by MA students from Westminster University alongside residents from Snowdrop House, Enfield and Appleby House, Epsom. They had the opportunity to not only visit this iconic gallery, but also take part in a ‘Dreamweavers Workshop’ creating a striking installation that was on display at the gallery over Easter! This was a very moving and thought-provoking project for all involved and was a wonderful experience for all the residents who took part. Nicky, Lifestyle Lead at Snowdrop House commented: “Residents and staff made art work using fabrics and textiles to incorporate dreams they’ve had. This was such a fun exercise and it evoked different emotions in everybody involved. One gentleman use to dream about his wife whom had passed a few years previously, and he found it very cathartic. All I can say is what a fantastic day we had. And it’s not everyday you can say that you had work displayed at the Tate!”

tate exchange
tate exchange
tate exchange

We’re excited to announce that we’ll back again at the Tate Exchange in May, working in collaboration with Westminster University on another project! This three-day workshop will run from 15th – 17th May and is open for anyone to come and take part and add to an interactive installation.

tate exchange
Art by Jenny Holzer, Photo by Timeout London

The theme this year is “Movement” and is a response to the current exhibition at The Tate Modern by Jenny Holzer. This has inspired the project to explore ideas surrounding migration and flight, reflecting the way in which we all move through life. On the run up to the 15th of May, our artists will be working on the project and will be joined by students from Westminster University, creating art work with their clients at Care Homes to bring along to the Tate Exchange. This will be installed as a starting point to inspire the 3-day workshop.

We’ll be sharing lots of updates across our social media channels on the run up to the Tate Exchange project, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the behind-the-scenes action. All are welcome to join us for this exciting workshop!

We hope to see you there!

The CM Artists included in the project are:
Hanna, Cherry, Caroline, Sasha, Alice, George, Kirsteen, Karen, Sarah Jane and Laura.

Clients include:
Residents at Chiswick Care, Arnold House, Kew House, The Burroughs, Foxes Den, Mountbatten, Kingsley, Gable Court, Moor House, Clara Court, plus some clients who receive one-to-one art sessions with CM Artists.

Stoma Support Groups get creative!

December 7, 2018

Creative Minds are delighted to be working closely with Colostomy UK who will be rolling out an art project next year that will run across Stoma Support Groups across the UK. This will be part of Colostomy UK’s“active ostomates” initiative – designed to empower people with a stoma to participate in activities to increase both physical and mental wellbeing. These activities are undertaken in a supportive environment to enable ostomates to build their confidence before taking up similar activities in the wider community.

Colostomy UK strongly recognise the emotional benefits that creative activity brings and they back Stoma Support groups across the UK. These groups bring people together in a friendly, supportive atmosphere to sensitively address issues that people face after stoma surgery.

Our artist Karen ran a wonderful taster session at the East Berkshire Ostomy Group in September. Participants had the opportunity to explore their creativity during a fun, relaxed 90-minute art session. Some stunning landscapes were created and attendees enjoyed experimenting with different techniques using soft and oil pastels. Many had never even used these mediums before!

colostomy uk
colostomy uk
colostomy uk
colostomy uk
colostomy uk
colostomy uk

A second taster session took place in November with Creative Minds Artist David at Wrights Meadow Centre, High Wycombe. It was a very autumnal theme and David gave participants the opportunity to either paint onto cut-out leaves or to paint from observation. Most participants said that they were not artistic in any way, and went with painting on cut-outs, but as the session progressed they got stuck in and began to really enjoy themselves. A couple of people commented to David that they found it very relaxing and therapeutic, and came away from the session feeling good.

colostomy uk

Giovanni from Colostomy UK says; “We have heard some fantastic feedback from the Creative Minds Sessions and are looking forward to pushing this out to a wider audience in the near future. Anything we can do that encourages Ostomates to participate in activity, build up their confidence and get back into the community adds significant value to the people we support. To find out more about how to sign up for the project please email giovanni.cinque@colostomyuk.org

Creative Minds Artists Attend Community Meeting 2018!

November 20, 2018

On a beautiful autumnal morning Creative Minds Artists (CM Artists) traveled from across the UK, to come together for our biannual Community Meeting. These meetings are an opportunity for CM Artists to network, share ideas, gain valuable business advice and receive news and updates from the Head Office.

creative minds artists

Upon arrival, each artist received a little card with the name of one of the world’s most famous artists on (which they could not reveal). Creative Minds Artists then had to ask each other questions, to try and guess which of the old master’s names they had on their card. This fun game got everyone talking and appreciating how the iconic figures of the art world have inspired many of their own art sessions.

creative minds artists

A friendly networking session with refreshments followed, with loads of ideas being shared. Our CM artists regularly communicate with each other via our online forums but don’t often get the chance to chat face-to-face. This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to enjoy a cup of tea and have a good catch up.

Following this, our CM Artists Jess and Ali delivered a short arts and dementia training session. This included a hands-on workshop, sensitively encouraging everyone to explore ways in which those living with dementia respond to different themes and objects, which evoke emotions and memories.

creative minds artists

creative minds artists

The artists were then set a 20-minute challenge to each create their own work of art in response to this training. Following this all of the work was hung around the room so that everyone could view and discuss each other’s own unique and beautiful take on the challenge.

creative minds artists creative minds artists creative minds artists creative minds artists

Everyone then enjoyed a tasty buffet lunch, followed by tea and cake, whilst reflecting on the insight they had gained from the morning’s session.

Following lunch, Creative Minds Founder and Director James Cropper, delivered news and updates on future plans for Creative Minds, and shared a selection of fresh new business building tools. This lead to an open discussion on the opportunities they have as CM Artists to expand into further fields.

creative minds artists

Community Development Manager Sarah Fenner, then shared kind and inspiring words, giving advice and ideas on how to overcome the challenges some of the artists may face. She then encouraged everyone to stop for five minutes, and take a break for a little self-care. All CM Artists were handed clay and took a wander outdoors, for a moment of mindfulness and reflection in the warm autumn sunshine.

creative minds artists creative minds artists

This was a lovely way to end the day as everyone considered all that had been discussed, and how it can be applied to their business as Creative Minds Artists. At the end everyone came together for a group photo, before saying good-byes, then each artist began their journey home.

creative minds artists

It was a wonderful day, bringing together such a passionate community of artists, and hearing their moving stories about how their work is touching people’s lives. We’re so proud of the work that they do, and we look forward to getting together again for our next community meeting in spring 2019!

Thanks for reading.

Displaying Artwork

July 16, 2016

Displaying Artwork – How to effectively display artwork created by the residents or participants around your care home or venue…

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas

From calming pastel paintings to vibrant acrylics residents create amazing artwork at Creative Minds sessions. But then what? The last thing anyone wants is for that wonderful expression of creativity to end up neglected in a corner.

Research shows that experiencing art decreases stress levels: visibility leads to value!

Both creating and subsequently displaying artwork offers many benefits:

  • Residents’ sense of pride at seeing their work on display
  • Raises residents’ self-esteem
  • Shows family and friends what activities residents have been doing
  • Can impress visitors to the home
  • Provides a positive talking point
  • Can provide a memory jog for the residents, back to the point of creating when there was a sense of relaxation, joyfulness and fun.

How to Display Artwork

There are plenty of options for displaying artwork. It helps to ensure its cohesive (e.g. similar pieces together). Do set a time-frame too – you don’t have to display everything at once – freshening up the space by regularly changing the artwork gives a new perspective and improved sensory experience.

Framing Artwork

displaying artwork

Framing a piece of artwork totally elevates its status. Cheap frames are readily available, either from charity or discount shops (such as The Range or Ikea).

I have been working with one lady, in her 90s, who’s been telling me: “I can’t draw Sarah Jane, you do it for me.” Recently, she created a beautiful watercolour flower painting. I suggested we frame it – to say she was pleased with the result is an understatement! She’s since created a lovely oil pastel painting of a pheasant – again, the frame made it sing and she is absolutely thrilled with it. From someone who insisted they couldn’t draw (and believed it for over 90 years) to someone whose self-esteem has improved dramatically – achieved by just framing the work!

Wall Displays

displaying artwork

displaying artwork

The simplest way is to put the work up with blu-tak. Creating a paper or cardboard mount will also frame the work nicely. You could create a project, such as a garden theme, to cheer up a bare wall.

Display on Shelves or Cabinets

displaying artwork

Sometimes space is at a premium so a row of pictures on a shelf can really brighten up a room. Also, using display cabinets, particularly for models, is an effective method. Small display easels  are a fun idea for smaller pictures too and can easily be moved around.

Pinboards or Mobile Wall Displays

displaying artwork

displaying artwork

A large pinboard or mobile wall allows you to display work simply and can be refreshed regularly.

Portfolio case

Presenting some work in an A3 portfolio case is also a good option, especially by the entrance to show visitors on arrival.

Useable artwork

displaying artwork

Items such as clay pots and coasters are a lovely way to create art that can also be used in the care home environment.

Other artwork

displaying artwork

Other creations, such as fun mobiles, can be shown off using fishing line and hung up, and suncatchers look beautiful on a window.

Ideally, a combination of the above can really help make a home a vibrant, fun, stimulating environment. One fantastic example is the ‘Appleby Tate’. Appleby House Care Home in Epsom, Surrey held an open day where the Mayor and Mayoress of Epson and Ewell officially opened the ‘Appleby Tate’ gallery.

The ‘Appleby Tate’ is a stunning gallery space within the care home, which is used to display all the fantastic artwork created by the residents in the Art Sessions. The Appleby Tate gallery provides a therapeutic space within the care home where the residents can relax, admire and meet with their relatives and visitors. It also provides a talking point for residents, encourages a social atmosphere, creates a lovely environment for the residents to live and seeing their artwork on display gives them a real sense of achievement and, we believe, empowerment.

displaying artwork

displaying artwork

One last thing to remember…“It’s not our art, but our heart that’s on display.” ~ Gary Holland

Thanks for reading!

Blog post by Sarah Jane, CM Artist.

The Easter Bunny!

May 24, 2014

From February right thought to April I did various Easter related Art Projects with the residents in care homes. Two of the Art Projects in particular involved making a giant Easter Bunny out of recycled materials covered in paper mache!

Both Easter Bunny ‘s were built entirely out of recycled materials including boxes, cardboard, plastic packaging and bottles. Masking tape is important in binding all the different recycled materials together to build the sculpture. Once the sculpture has been built and was sturdy and secure we then started to cover the entire structure with 2/3 layers of paper mache (See image below).

Once the Easter Bunny had been covered in paper mache, dried thoroughly and primed it was time for me and the resident’s to give him some colour. As you can see in the image below we decided to paint him a mousey brown colour whilst tailoring a nice jacket bought from the charity shop for him. To secure the jacket we used drawing pins and then a staple gun to fix it in place.

Easter Bunny - Primmed, painted and with fitted jacket.

After 4/5 Art Sessions we had finally completed the Easter Bunny in time for Easter. We added lots of details using a mixture of acrylic paints to his face. We used some cotton wool buds for his ears , white felt for his belly and pipe cleaners for his whiskers. And to finish him off a paper daffodil in his pocket! The finished sculpture was about 3.5ft tall!

Easter Bunny - finished display at care home.

As you can see he is surrounded by Easter eggs (made and painted by the residents in the Art Sessions) and some little lambs making a lovely Easter display for all the residents and visitors to the care home! 🙂

Easter Bunny - close up

Easter Bunny & CM founder James Cropper

More Art Projects to come from myself and Creative Minds. Thank you for reading! 🙂

James.