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 believe wholeheartedly in the powerful relationship that exists between art and health. Having been a Marketing professional for many years, I reconnected with the therapeutic and transformational benefits of art-making in 2006. I created my own Arts Council-funded community arts programme working with young adults who had experienced psychosis and was also one of the co-ordinators who initiated the Birmingham and Solihull-wide ‘Arts All Over The Place’ festival of the arts and mental health.
In recent years I have been an Activity Co-ordinator working with older adults for a range of national care providers. This experience further instilled a belief in the necessity of meaningful activities that give participants a sense of self; improving self-esteem, self-worth and self-belief, combatting feelings of separateness and loneliness and giving back control over choices and decision-making.
I love the Creative Minds ethos of ‘Create Art. Empower People’ and as a Creative Minds Artist, connected to an inspirational and supportive community of like-minded artists, I have the joy and privilege of seeing this happen every single day.
“I have always been creative, having not followed my artistic ambitions and worked in human resources in the NHS for over 20 years; I am now undertaking a wonderfully creative working life being a Creative Minds Artist. It is a joy and privilege to work with our clients producing art they are really proud of and to share the amazing art produced by everyone.”
Has becoming a Creative Minds Artist met your expectations?
“Yes, from the first break on my first day training I knew I had made the right decision to become a Creative Minds Artist and the flexibility allows me to balance family life and still find time to mosaic.”
“I have always loved the arts but my parents dissuade me from pursuing a career in the creative industries. I finally plucked up the courage in my 40′s to leave a well paid admin job and study for a BA in Fine Art. It was my ambition to do something with my art degree however, life had other plans and I ended up behind a desk again doing a 9-5 admin job with plenty of unpaid overtime, leaving little time to make art.”
“When I saw the ad for Creative Minds artists I thought it was too good to be true. After my first telephone interview I recall my partner remarking, ‘I’ve never seen you smile so much.’ I’m still smiling because at last I have the opportunity to realise my dream.”
What would you say to other people thinking about joining the Creative Minds?
“Well it’s a great opportunity to work within the arts and earn a living. The start up package is excellent and covers everything needed to run the sessions. Creative Minds has a sound concept and a vision to grow into a larger enterprise.”
To me, Creative Minds is a perfect fit as I am a strong and passionate believer that Art is accessible to everyone and that art is therapeutic for many reasons.
Discovering this opportunity to join a community of like-minded artists who want to make a difference was an instant decision. To have the opportunity to offer all sorts of creativity to people makes me very happy and excited.
I have always loved art and was fortunate enough to have a supporting family that allowed me to ditch the desk job and venture…I have been there for my family to grow and now looked for a new experience.
My first love was clay, then painting and then photography and the past 3 years have seen me picking up my own tools again making and I am always experimenting with how to cross over techniques and applications.
There are so many mediums to use, whether on their own or together, watercolour, pastel, clay, collage the possibilities are endless and there is no such thing as wrong and that is why art makes such a difference….
What did I think about the training?
The two days that James provided were enjoyable, informative and built up such a positive start to this venture. There were answers to our questions and great insight into running the business. The start-up pack is brilliant and the support he and Sarah have given me is amazing. There is so much information available and the Creative Minds community is so welcoming. If any artist is looking to change their life and make a difference….do it!
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.