Its been over a year since the opening of the Appleby Tate art gallery at Appleby House Care Home (Care UK) in Epsom, Surrey, which was officially opened by the Mayor and Mayoress of Epsom on Care Home Open Day 2015. The ‘Appleby Tate’ is an incredible gallery space that has been created to display all of the fantastic artwork created in Art Sessions by the residents. We have been delivering Art Sessions to Appleby House for nearly 2 years now, and the residents most of whom have dementia, have created wonderful art, crafts and sculpture over that time.
James the founder of Creative Minds use to deliver Art Sessions to Appleby House, which inspired the manager Shona Bradbury and the activities team to transform the space. He explains; “The Art Sessions are hugely popular at Appleby House and all of the residents that participate create fantastic artwork, and really immerse themselves in the creative process. The Appleby Tate started out as a vision to display the resident’s artwork by utilising unused wall space, but with the hard work of Shona and the activities team they have transformed it into an amazing gallery space to showcase all of the resident’s artwork. Its awe inspiring to see and it doesn’t stop at the seating area it continues down the hallway!
The Art Sessions have had a profound effect on Appleby House and will continue to do so as the artwork displayed in the gallery is rotated. Recent changes include the brightly coloured gallery walls and the creation of giant flowers on display near the seating area.
The gallery has also had a profound effect on the care home environment, Shona, Manager at Appleby House, comments; ‘The art sessions have had such a positive impact on the home that we were also inspired to have vibrant feature walls that have carried on to all the suites. With each phase of our growing appreciation of art and colour we see at the same time increased wellbeing for the residents and staff. One GP recently said “What’s happened to the home, the residents used to sit around and now they are all so lively”. We are so inspired by the effect of the art that we are renaming the suites in the home after famous artists. The residents are currently creating a signature art piece from each of their chosen artists to be displayed in the suites. This is part of our commitment to becoming a home driven by artistic and creative therapies. The look on visitors faces is priceless and we love to tell them that we like to focus on what people living with dementia can do and not what they can’t. Our recent CQC inspection awarded us as ‘Outstanding’ for all our activities and they were blown away by the Appleby Tate and the artwork.”
It is known in health care that participation in an array of activities in care homes is vital in maintaining an individual’s health and well-being. Our Art Sessions provide a relaxing environment for the residents to explore their creativity and feel engaged and empowered through the use of various materials and mediums to create their art. Residents, staff and family members have noted that our sessions help to reduce agitation, improve mood, dexterity, social cohesion and boost levels of self-esteem and confidence. In addition, residents regularly produce beautiful artwork, which can be displayed, like the Appleby Tate, throughout the care home.
In the Appleby Tate’s case the display of the artwork increases its impact not only on those who participate but other residents in the home, James comments; “We’ve proven that our Art Sessions empower and enhance the lives of the participants and I think displaying the artwork as Appleby House have done amplifies that impact, reaching those who haven’t participated in the sessions, the staff, the relatives, it enhances the whole care environment.”
The Appleby Tate is a testament to the impact that the Art Sessions can have on a care home and an indication as to how they can impact other types of venue. Our goal is to continue to nuture and encourage the venues we work with to display the artwork created by the participants, and we’re certain more Appleby Tate like art galleries will emerge as a result.