by Julia Watkinson, Learning Development Officer

Launched in 2014, our Arts and Minds sessions provide twice monthly arts classes for people with mild memory loss or early stage dementia and their carer, relative or friend.

Led by a group of artists and one of our Learning Officers, the sessions are underpinned by our collections, exhibitions and commissions.

Participants get involved in a wide range of creative activities, producing some wonderful art and craft work that help improve their manual skills and memory. The sessions also give everyone involved a chance to relax and be sociable in a safe and secure space.

Arts and Minds project Collage1

Most recently, the group has been working on a longer-term project. This is a change to the stand-alone activities they usually do where they get to take a painting or artwork home at the end of each session.

The project is inspired by the Royal Naval figureheads we’re currently restoring, and which will form a stunning display in the main entrance of The Box when it opens in 2020.

As part of the project, our Arts and Minds attendees are making small ceramic versions of the figureheads over the course of a three-month period. They’re following the entire process step by step; from the initial sculpting, to the drying and biscuit firing, to the painting and then the final glazing. The images in today’s post show the work they’ve done so far. Don’t they look great?

Arts and Minds project Collage2

The group have been using photographs of the figureheads to work from and have also been helped by our Decant Officer Steve Conway who is leading on the restoration project.

Once completed, we hope these mini sculptures will be displayed in a case near the actual figureheads. In future months we also hope the group will get to make a variety of other arts and crafts pieces linked to our Naval collections. We hope to display these too.

Here are some more images from the sessions:

Arts and Minds project3

Arts and Minds project4

Arts and Minds project5

Arts and Minds project7

You can find links to all our figurehead-related blog posts and press releases here.

We’ll be documenting more of the Arts and Minds work over the spring and will share these images and hopefully a film in the coming weeks.