Face Time with The Art Room

by Cass Art

We all need the time and space to be creative, whoever we are, and in whatever form that may be. The Art Room is a national charity that offers art as a therapeutic intervention for children aged 5 to 16, providing a platform for young people to build confidence, self-esteem, and learn about the power of creativity – something everyone should be entitled to experience.

In partnership with the Threadneedle Foundation, The Art Room is hosting its most recent exhibition Face Time at the Mall Galleries in London this June, featuring work by over 60 leading contemporary artists. 

The exhibited works are based on the idea of a clock face, a symbol used often by the charity to reflect the ideas of self-portraiture and independence.

Well-known painters, sculptors, illustrators, architects and photographers alike have all contributed a piece of work that will be up for sale to raise funds for the charity. All sales will go directly to The Art Room to allow them to continue to support young people and encourage them to turn to art. 

The 2001 Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, and the painter Maggi Hambling famous for her thick impasto seascapes, are among the exhibiting artists. Antony Gormley, The Chapman Brothers and Yinka Shonibare have also contributed work to the show. 

Maggi Hambling Clock  
Maggi Hambling (Pictured Above) 

We asked The Art Room directly about the power behind art as therapy. 

How does the Art Room work by offering art as a therapeutic intervention?
Each of our 7 Art Rooms is designed as a creative and safe space; with sofas where students relax and talk, tables where art projects are created, and a communal area for sharing food. The children enjoy a small group session with two to three trained practitioners working with groups or 6 or 8 for one to two hours a week. The sessions use art as a tool to engage with the children, and are structured to encourage communication, language and life skills.

Students work on tangible objects - chairs, lampshades, trays, coffee tables, aprons and much more. The methodology introduces the children to a sense of empowerment through transforming everyday objects into something individual and creative.

Do you know it works?
The Art Room continually evaluates the work and outcome of our practice. A 2011-2013 quantitative evaluation of The Art Room showed that it significantly reduces childrens' emotional and behavioural problems, especially within their peer group, and also improves their pro-social behaviour. Children who had clinical levels of difficulties at the start of their sessions showed a 87.5% improvement in their self-reported mood and self-esteem following participation in The Art Room.

But the students themselves perhaps say it better than any percentages can:

“I stood up in assembly and showed everyone my painted chair.  They clapped and I was proud.  People kept asking me how I made a chair into a jungle.  I told them I did it at The Art Room.”

“I get very angry in class. I throw things. I shout and kick. The Art Room has helped me. I would never throw a chair at The Art Room.”

“The Art Room is helping me.  I have problems and here I can talk about them.”

Face Time 
Yinka Shonibare (Pictured Above) 

How do children take part at The Art Room – do you approach them, or can they apply to take part themselves?
The Art Room offers art as therapy to children and young people between 5 and 16 years of age. Students are offered support to manage their difficulties at a time when they most need it.

The students might have difficulty engaging with their education due to challenges in their daily lives. They may have learning difficulties, be on the autistic spectrum, suffer from bullying, or have recently arrived in the country. Students are referred by the schools and other professionals working with them, but they can also be referred by their families or self-refer.

Finally, can you tell us a little bit about the Face Time exhibition itself – you have some brilliant artist names in the mix!
We are so fortunate to have so many fantastic supporters, many of which are practicing artists. Face Time is a celebration of all our supporters and is a key fundraising initiative for The Art Room. We are so grateful for all their amazing donations and contributions. 

Martin Parr 

Martin Creed (Pictured Above)

Face Time will be showing at the Mall Galleries in London from Monday 16th June to Saturday 21st June.

So show your own face at the Mall Galleries, view work by several leading artists and support The Art Room in the process - a charity that proves the power of art goes beyond what's on the wall. 
Face Time logo  

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