For this year’s Creativity and Wellbeing Week, we would like to take some time to outline Suffolk Artlink as an organisation, our mission and core goals, and several of our projects which we have recently been running in Suffolk communities.
Suffolk Artlink is a participatory arts charity that develops and delivers inclusive arts programs that support people’s health and wellbeing in the community. Our creative projects help people transform through the arts by bringing new skills, support networks, confidence, and joy to communities in the East.
We work in a wide array of locations, such as hospitals, hospices, residential homes, schools, community venues, and more. Our work is led by experienced arts practitioners who encompass a rich variety of different art forms, and is delivered in close partnership with care, education, voluntary and community organisations.
Our recent work reflects our commitment to our core mission and values, as well as giving back to Suffolk communities. For example, our Wild About Kirkley project recently completed and opened their brand new community garden, which is available for the public, and project leaders continue to actively work on and develop the garden further in tandem with the community in Kirkley.
Additionally, our Let’s Get Creative team in Stradbroke recently unveiled the Stradbroke Tapestry, a collaborative art piece depicting the village’s landmarks, and local residents’ treasured memories. The tapestry now stands as a local attraction in its own right, and serves as a lasting legacy of our work alongside the people of the Stradbroke.
While those chapters of our work have closed for now, ongoing projects such as Brave Art, Friends Around the Table and more continue to be a valuable asset to the communities in which they work, offering creative courses, good company and genuine connections to all who attend.
Brave Art is an accessible arts training course for individuals with learning disabilities, offering a creative space to explore a wide range of art forms, while developing key life skills. Brave Art offers trips to cultural venues, public celebrations, and explorations of illustration, dance, film-making, music and more, all under the guidance of seasoned artists. Recently, students’ work has gone on display at the Elmswell Library, and the students have judged an award at Suffolk Open Studios’ exhibition at Snape Maltings.
Meanwhile, Friends Around the Table offers family carers and adults living rurally a chance to build bridges and connections to members of their local communities in a relaxing, fun and freeing environment, most recently in Woodbridge and Hadleigh. Professional artists and chefs lead easy-going workshops centered around socialising, food, printing and more, and those who attended spoke of “being able to express myself better and feel safe amongst new friends”, as well as “interesting, informative” sessions led by “excellent session leaders”.
This is a small insight into the abundance of work we undertake in Suffolk, all with the express aim of providing artistic opportunities, space for collaboration and connections, and empowerment through the arts for members of Suffolk communities. This Creativity and Wellbeing Week, we at Suffolk Artlink are reminded of our central mission and goals, and also actively encourage you to take part in the arts and in the community. Art is a fantastic median to meet new people, form lasting bonds, and express your creativity, so why not give it a try?