Event to celebrate completion of service user Open Mind sculpture project

Date: 13 March 2013

Artist Amanda Wray with the Open Mind sculpture at Fieldhead in Wakefield.

Artist Amanda Wray with the Open Mind sculpture at Fieldhead in Wakefield.

People who use services provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in Wakefield are celebrating the completion of a sculpture and mosaic project.

The project has included service users from a range of wellbeing, learning disability and mental health services including residents at the Newhaven Unit and the Bretton Centre, who have been heavily involved.

Although the sculpture arrived on site in February 2013 a special event has been arranged for Tuesday 26th March to officially unveil the work and celebrate the contribution of service users and staff. An exhibition will also be held showcasing the different stages of the project and individual pieces of work created along the way.

Throughout the project the Trust has worked alongside award winning mosaic artist/sculptor Amanda Wray supported by AiM (Artists in Mind) and the project has also received funding from the Arts Council.

AiM is a charity using the arts to support individuals experiencing acute and enduring mental ill health. It has ten years’ experience supporting the linguistic and artistic development of people suffering acute mental distress in secure settings.

To develop the skills and ideas needed to make the final piece service users took part in weekly workshops creating exploratory drawings, learning various mosaic techniques and building small maquettes (models) in clay.

The group of service users and staff, together with the professional artists, decided upon the human head as the sculptural form for the finished piece. The Open Minds final design is a large head which is hollowed out to house a seat, creating an intimate space for conversation, or just to sit and enjoy.

Amanda took all of the components away to her workshop to construct the sculpture, which measures around 2 metres high and used around half a ton of clay to form the mould. This has then been cast to form the final piece, which houses the wooden seat.

Paul Dews, who works at Newhaven, said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity for service users to learn new skills and get involved in an exciting project. This will be the first site-specific sculptural artwork at Fieldhead and will be positioned in a prominent and accessible outdoor space for all visitors to the site to enjoy. The sculpture will provide a legacy for future service users, staff and the public to enjoy.”

The collaboration was part of the Trust’s Creative Minds strategy, which underlines the organisation’s commitment to having a creative approach to service delivery as well as promoting opportunities for people to get involved in creative activities.

More information about the Trust’s Creative Minds strategy can be found at www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/creativeminds