Unlocking potential with…Art4Space

In this series of articles, we’ll be meeting the six current recipients of our Unlocking Potential fund to see what impact our grants have had. This is a fund MTC provides that is shared out across organisations that work with individuals and communities to transform lives on a frontline basis.

In this article we’re looking at Art4Space, a female-led not for profit social enterprise with a community art centre in Stockwell.

Providing therapeutic art courses

Art4Space provide art courses for children, adults and corporate clients. “We exist to improve the wellbeing of communities across London, explains founding Director Eli. “We do that by delivering mental health therapeutic art sessions, employability training courses and enterprise courses. We do a lot of work across primary schools…where children design and create artwork for playgrounds.”

Originally working predominantly in primary schools, Art4Space was founded 22 years ago with the belief that engaging with art and creativity can transform communities. “We started to see how certain children really benefitted from workshops as a free practical space,” Eli explains, “children who struggled in normal learning spaces excelled here. We developed courses to support these children and unlock their potential.”

They then rolled out these courses for adults. “Wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do, across all our services,” Eli says.

Using MTC funding for courses

Funding from MTC’s Unlocking Potential fund was originally planned for a training course for young people at risk of entering the criminal justice system. After planning, the funding was able to cover two courses which were delivered in a hybrid model, partly online and partly in person.

The courses were a success, with people overcoming initial nerves and tension of coming together post-lockdown. “We focused on wellbeing,” Eli explains, “and got participants to share their experiences of lockdown and now coming together. The artwork they created was very personal.” Speaking about connection through trials such as lockdown and collaborating positively to create artwork together drew participants together and resulted in artwork.

Looking to the future

Moving forwards, Art4Space is looking to maximise their social impact and grow the team. “We got through covid-19 supporting our staff and our community,” Eli says, “we are a dynamic, innovative organisation and we’re proud of what we have achieved. We hope to build our partnership with MTC.”