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 (EPUT). 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, 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 and Metal.

Open Arts are grateful to our funders The Big Lottery, Essex County Council and SEPT Charitable Trust Fund Committee, 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.

Please visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/openartsessex/ we look forward to hearing from you!

If you would like to make a donation towards our project, please make cheques payable to 'SEPT Charitable Fund' or visit http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/openartsessex/appeals/open-arts/649 to make an online donation. Thank you!