Arty-Folks starting new Recovery Academy Module

Arty-Folks will be starting the new Recovery and Wellbeing Academy module MAKING HEADWAY on Monday 6th November 2017, 1pm-3pm

This four-week course is for young adults and will look at using creative techniques to help reduce mental distress.  Art can help us express how we feel and understand the world around us, and to express ourselves more clearly using our visual language.  It is not an art therapy course, rather a way for people to use creativity in a positive way to support recovery.

Learning outcomes:
• Identify some of the issues creativity can help with
• Better understand how creativity can help reduce mental distress
• Consider different creative ways to help distract / stimulate / soothe / calm / challenge
• Create your own sculpture that will help you remain positive along your journey
• Think about how you can use the tools and techniques from this course to support
you in the future.
• Have a better understanding of whether Arty-Folks’ Art as Therapy is for you

This course starts on Monday 6th November 2017 1pm-3pm and runs once a week over four weeks (6-27 November 2017)

To enrol:

Arty-Folks joins the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy

The Recovery and Wellbeing Academy brings together all the great organisations and courses available in the region to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing, and Arty-Folks is one of the partners delivering a couple of modules. 

Our first module – CREATIVE MINDFULNESS – will start 9th October 2017
In this four-week course we will be investigating how creative practice can contribute to our sense of wellbeing.  It will be an opportunity to try out a variety of creative techniques including mindfulness, collage, layering, and drawing. You don’t need any previous experience of creative techniques and all materials and equipment are provided free.  By the end of this course, you will:
• Have completed your own mandala for you to keep.
• Have a better understanding of mindfulness and the meditational art of Tibet
• Understand the benefits of engaging with creativity for wellbeing
• Feel more confident engaging in creative activities with your peers
• Have a better understanding of whether Arty-Folks’ Art as Therapy is for you

This course starts on Monday 9th October 2017 1pm-3pm and runs once a week over four weeks (9-30 October 2017)

Online registration:

Recovery and Wellbeing Academy enrolling now!

We are so excited to be a part of the new Recovery and Wellbeing Academy
that offers a learning approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing.

What’s so unique about this Academy is that courses are open to anyone
free of charge!

Arty-Folks offers two brand new 4 week modules:

You can enrol now by visiting     or

What is a Recovery & Wellbeing Academy?
Our Academy is not a School, College or Academy in the traditional sense of the word, you don’t need to be academically minded to attend and there are no tests, exams or assessments. The Academy offers a learning approach to personal recovery and wellbeing that compliments existing services provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and Coventry&Warwickshire Mind. We offer a wide range of courses and workshops designed to empower you in recognising your skills, abilities and resources and learning to become an expert in your own recovery and wellbeing.

Who are the Courses & Workshops run by and who are they for?
Our courses and workshops are designed with the expectation that many people attending may feel nervous, worried or may have difficulty concentrating. Our Courses and Workshops are designed to be informal, friendly and enjoyable and are delivered in safe, nurturing environments. If you have further learning needs please let us know at enrolment so we can accommodate your specialist requirements.  Many of our courses are led by a Peer Trainers who has direct life experience of recovery and a
Practitioner Trainer who has specialist professional skills & knowledge in that subject area. Both trainers will support students throughout.

The Recovery and wellbeing courses are open to anyone over the age of 18 living in Coventry and Warwickshire who wants to better manage or understand their Mental Health and wellbeing.  Friends, family, staff, and carers are all encouraged to attend as we strongly believe in learning all together to get the most out of the courses on offer.
All courses and workshops delivered by the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy are educational and will equip you with skills and knowledge to better manage your mental health and wellbeing.

Arty-Folks launches new group Making Headway for 18-30yr olds

Join us on Tuesday 2nd of May at 1pm at the Earlsdon Library to celebrate the establishment of Making Headway, our 4th weekly art group  for 18-30yr olds.Headway(A5) -Frnt (PRINT)

Our Tilly supports members of the group to learn a range of fine art practices including drawing, painting, ceramics, as well as Adobe Photoshop, video/photography and to tell their story through a powerful visual and verbal language.  We will help them build a strong and personal art portfolio and progress to accredited art courses at College or University.

Headway(A5) -Bck(28.3.17)

A life-coach will support members of this group to increase their self-understanding and to gain a different perspective on their own circumstances affecting their sense of well-being.
The life coach will also help with practical matters such as benefits and finances, CV’s, job searches and interviews, as well as accessing therapies and in fact anything that stands in the way of confidence, self-esteem, and direction in life.

Additionally, members of this group will design and publish an annual book containing artwork, documentations, and personal statements created during the weekly sessions. These books will powerfully tell their story and celebrate how far they have travelled.

We will also showcase their talents at local venues Fargo/Herbert Gallery and demonstrate that the visual arts are a powerful tool for good mental health.

This project received 3year funding of £75,000 from HOE Logo Coloured

Mental Health Awareness Week

Coventry charities Arty-Folks and AIMHS (Actively Improving Mental Health Services) have joined forces to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and to raise discussions around mental health Thriving or Surviving

Coventry has a lot of mental health peer-to-peer support in the community to offer but it’s not always easy to find out about it.

Monday 8th of May, 11am-3pm at Coventry Central Library, come and talk to members of Arty-Folks and AIMHS who will share their knowledge and expertise with you to help you thrive in life.

Picnic in the Park Friday 12th of May 2017

Coventry mental health charities are bringing people together to a ‘bring and share’ picnic by the main visitors centre in the Memorial Park.  Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate Peer-to-Peer mental health support in the community.

Meet by Godiva statue in Broadgate 12noon and you can either join
AIMHS walking group and with them make your way to the Memorial Park
Arty-Folks and we will visit our exhibitions at Central library and further up at Earlsdon library before getting to the Memorial Park.

Come and enjoy a chat with old and new friends, relax and share some food, and we have booked sunshine and surprise entertainment for you.

Mental Health Awareness Week copy

A brolly over our heads

The Coventry Umbrella Club was best known as ‘the Brolly Club’ back in the good old days, the 50s and 60s when Coventry was flourishing.  Terry Watson was the main driving force behind the club whose main aim was to foster participation in all the arts in Coventry. Terry died in 2009 and left a relatively small sum of money in his will to be granted to arts organisations in Coventry.  At present, the Club has a small group of members who have extensive awareness of the arts in Coventry and have personal knowledge of projects which Terry would wish to support.

We were so chuffed when they offered to support Arty-Folks with a grant of £1,312 !  The Brolly Club said: “Arty-Folks is continuing Terry Watson’s legacy of encouraging artistic creativity in others, especially those who lack confidence in their own potential.”  For more information visit

January 2017 we will engage with this funding artist Tanya Kozin, a highly respected sculptor with extensive experience working from model. She will teach us how to use calipers to measure the model and step-by-step transform a bag of terracotta clay into a life-size and life-like head sculpture.  The whole process from start to finish will take 8-10 weeks and will put our observational skills to the test as well as our determination to see things through to completion.  What a challenge to start the new year with!

If you are interested to attend courses run by Tanya visit

Hi, I’m Tilly and I am the Creative Program Assistant

As Creative Program Assistant I develop the art program and I facilitate all Arty-Folks therapeutic art groups and I am so excited that the Heart of England Community Foundation has granted us £75,000 to run ‘MAKING HEADWAY’, a 3year program for young adults 18-30 years old that will help them to overcome mental ill health and thrive in life.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
20% of people who come to Arty-Folks because of poor mental health are between 17-25 years old and most suffer with social anxiety.  Does that surprise you?  As a young person we are expected to be carefree, confident, optimistic, social, popular, intelligent, and make our way in the world with a good job, a steady relationship, buy a house, have fun, be successful, and have tons of Facebook friends.  Expectations are huge and the fear of failure is crippling.  Our parents, bless their cotton socks, may have done their best but didn’t manage to set us up with the right skills and confidence to just get out there and make headway.

I am 23 years old now and I was one of them when I came across Arty-Folks while I was a 2nd year Fine Art student at Coventry University.  I attended a presentation and I was so impressed the artwork people had produced and their journeys of self-discovery.  I immediately felt I wanted to be part of it because I could see that art had a meaning, a clear purpose with Arty-Folks.  I volunteered at workshops for nearly 2 years before taking on this job a year ago and it has not stopped challenging me.  I am still learning about art and people myself, developing my skills and growing as a person.

Our new group Making Headway will support young adults to make sense of their experiences and their feelings, and to tell their story through their own artwork.  The young adults who currently attend our workshops have started meeting as a group to start talking how they want Making Headway to offer and what they want to get out of it.

Together we decided that

  • the group will run every Tuesdays 1pm-3pm and can be joined any time throughout the year
  • we will learn traditional art skills like drawing, painting, ceramics and also use video, photography, animation to develop a powerful visual and verbal language
  • beginners are very welcome and everyone will be able to learn at their own pace
  • the group will remain small, relaxed, and informal so that even everyone has a chance to express themselves and be heard
  • everyone can build a personal art portfolio that can be used to access further education.
  • we will exhibit our artwork to celebrate our achievements and to step out of our comfort zone
  • we will publish a book of stories and artwork to encourage more young adults to seek support

I wasn’t sure how it would feel facilitating a group for my peers but it was amazing!  We talked, we shared our experiences with the pressures to conform and struggling to fit in, and it didn’t feel like showing weakness.  In fact, it felt assertive, compassionate, accepting, and confident.   We talked about how it feels when you feel different to others and that when you opt out of the mainstream your peers will label you as week, as different, and that gives them licence to abuse you, to bully you.  We all know now that being bullied leads to poor mental health and anxiety but admitting to it is still socially generally unacceptable particularly for young people.

So perhaps you know a family member, a friend, or a friend of a friend who is struggling to cope with daily living and who need support to get back on their feet.  Let them know about Arty-Folks even if they do not have a massive interest in art because even if we can’t help we may know somebody somewhere who can.

To join Making Headway send us a message on Facebook/Arty-Folks or email or text 074 4364 3634.

HOE Logo Coloured

Artists and Academics exhibition 26th of November 2016

To celebrate Coventry’s bid for the City of Culture in 2017 the University of Warwick and Fargo village are bringing 17 artists and 17 academics together for an exhibition of local artists work that aims to bridge the art-science divide. Arty-Folks has chosen to team up with PhD student Rebecca Noble and the collaboration will lead to a piece of work that will be exhibited  for one day only on Saturday 26th of November 10am-6pm at the Fargo Village Box Gallery.

Rebecca Noble (Centre for History of Medicine, Warwick University)
My research is based on understandings of madness in eighteenth-century Mexico and how those understandings affected ideas of personal identity. I look at how the term madness was used in different areas of colonial life, such as the Inquisition, army, criminal justice system, and Christian missions. I also analyse literary texts, medical journals, and colonial bureaucratic records to develop a picture of the varied conceptions of madness in this period with an emphasis on the moral, political, and medical significance of the term. I ask questions such as ‘what worldviews shaped beliefs about madness?’, ‘who was thought to be mad and why?’ and ‘how was the idea of madness used to regulate this society?’ Through answering these questions, I intend to add to a nuanced understanding of what it meant to be human in eighteenth-century Mexico.

We often think about creativity as making something new and original, but in fact the root meaning of the word means ‘to grow’. About 20 members of Progression and Making Way will be working together to create a sculpture entitled ‘Twixt Nature and Nurture’ influenced by her research into madness and by artists Francisco Goya and Hieronymus Bosch. This piece of work will measure 6m long x 2m wide x 2.5-3.0m high and will be made predominantly of paper.
for more information visit

Join our 20th Birthday Party!

 Monday 25th of April 2016 is Arty-Folks’ 20th Anniversary!

join our Birthday Party in front of the Coventry Central Library
come and meet Arty-Folks artists

special guests Coventry’s Lord Major and Lady Mayoress
will join us and visit our Exhibition “I must be dreaming”
on the first floor of Coventry Central Library, showing self-portraits exploring the connection between thinking and feeling, until 30.4.16

Coventry’s Lady Godiva will cut our Birthday Cake
come and enjoy a slice!

1.00 – 3.00
make a Dream Catcher, a free activity.
Arty-Folks members will help you to make your own.da680ad8a1d1b1428c14fc169b723aac
20 years ago, on the 25th of April 1996 a few mental health service users who felt disempowered by their diagnosis and written off by society got together with a visual artist and started to make Art.  From those humble beginnings Arty-Folks transformed into a Charity supporting over 300 people with mental ill health per year on their journey to personal growth and mental well-being.

Today Arty-Folks is proud
We have offered an uninterrupted service since 1996 on a shoestring budget ! With the support of over 100 Peer Volunteers we have supported over 3,000 people to regain a foothold and move on in life.

More recently
Arty-Folks received £40,000 from the People’s Health Trust to
support City Centre residents to reduce loneliness and social isolation.
This 2 year project will come to completion end of May and we are proud that 330 residents participated in our art workshops.  90 community activities within the city-centre and over 260 city-wide are now listed on our website directories

But we are MOST PROUD
Our members who fulfilled lifetime ambitions such as art qualifications from A* Level to BA (Hons) Fine Art, Illustration, Arts & Crafts, and many of these with commendations. Some members exhibited their work abroad and sold their work. Our eldest member and Trustee (born 1916) received The Mind Millennium Award in 2003 for his artistic achievements, and for being the third oldest practising artist in the West Midlands.

Arty-Folks Creativity

We often think about creativity as making something new and original, but in fact the root meaning of the word means ‘to grow’.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

We look forward to celebrating our 20th Birthday with you.