About us

“I wanted to get up and do something which was a challenge. I learned respect for myself and for others as well. It’s not just the art work now it is about quality of life, about how I should be looking after myself as well. No one criticised me. I started at a very low level with my art work. Now I am able to move on.” (Studio member)

Open Arts is a community arts and mental health project run as one of the charities managed within the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. The project offers courses consisting of taster sessions in visual arts, drama, digital art and music, with the aim of providing relaxing social arts groups that encourage new skills and confidence for people who feel they have a mental health need and to carers. Open Arts offers accreditation, volunteer opportunities, links to further learning, research, projects, exhibitions and studio provision at Hadleigh Art House: part of the Hadleigh Old Fire Station (HOFS) community arts and culture facility.

Open Arts works in partnership with Essex County Council, Rochford District Council, Adult Community Learning Essex, ACAVA, Brentwood Borough Council, Southend Borough Council, Thurrock Council, Anglia Ruskin University, South Essex Service User Research Group (SE-SURG), Addaction, Together Thurrock, Workers' Educational Association (WEA), Eastern Roots, Metal and The Beecroft Gallery. 

Open Arts are grateful to our funders Essex County Council Cultural Strategic Fund, Brentwood Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, Brentwood Community Fund, Leigh Lions Club and EPUT Charity Fund, who make it possible for our projects to continue making a positive impact to so many people.

Open Arts 'Highly Commended' in the Partnership Working Award category at the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards 2016. We won the Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing Award at the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards 2015 and 2013. Thanks to all our artists, volunteers and participants and studio members that continue to make the project the success it is.

Open Arts is not a core commissioned service within the Trust. We are completely reliant on external funding to pay for the running and delivery of the project, including core costs, courses, studios and materials. We benefit from the infrastructure and staff overheads of EPUT, using their offices venues as meeting places, the finance and HR departments but receive no funding directly. 

As we are a charitable community arts and health project which is self-funding, any contribution towards our valuable and worthwhile project is gratefully received and will enable us to continue our work.

Please make cheques payable to ‘EPUFT Charity Fund’ and post to Open Arts, The Art House, next to Hadleigh Old Fire Station, 19 High Street, Hadleigh, Essex SS7 2PA

Or online via https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/openartsessex/appeals

Thank you!

We have a YouTube channel OpenArtsEssex https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXrFkRhEG1A  

Please visit, ‘like’ and share our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/openartsessex

Twitter and Instagram @OpenArtsEssex