Celebrating a successful year since its launch, a Cornwall-wide initiative which embraces art is inviting others to benefit. 

Championing the role that art and creativity plays in promoting health, Arts Well first launched their “Creativity – It’s good for you” campaign 12 months ago, aimed at raising awareness of the vital contribution that being creative makes to wellbeing. 

Part of the project saw the introduction of a downloadable directory with details of opportunities for people in Cornwall to get creative, which has grown over the past 12 months to more than 80 listings across the county. 

The directory will now be relaunched, and Arts Well is inviting new organisations to list their creative opportunities for free. 

Three organisations which have been part of the directory for the past year are west Cornwall based ‘A Cornish Geek Letters’, Newquay-based Wedge Studios and east Cornwall based ‘Artsemble’. 

Andy Foley, a studio founder of Newquay’s Wedge Studio, said: “One of our pillars is to create a welcoming space for people of all backgrounds to come and explore pottery not just as an art form but to help support their mental health. 

“Our sessions bring a new sense of creativity – the feeling that attendees can make something and get a new skill easily with the right support. Our classes are there to give people the room to experiment and test their boundaries. This hopefully gives them a little more confidence in their day-to-day lives. In every group we see a wide range of creative ideas coming forth and it’s just giving people the opportunity and support those ideas.” 

Sue Johns, community programmes manager for Winning Steps South West, providing ‘Artsemble’, said: Those who come to our sessions get enjoyment, social engagement and have fun, whilst learning new skills and feeling more part of their community. 

“By listing our Artsemble sessions in Arts Well’s Directory, it has been well-promoted over the course of the year which has increased awareness and attendance. Hosted on Arts Well’s website, shared through their newsletter to their database, promoted through marketing tools such as their social media and with their wide range of partners, ensured those who might be interested to attend our sessions found out about them.” 

Emma, owner of Penzance-based A Cornish Geek Letters, said: “I am passionate about encouraging people to use pen and paper to improve their wellbeing and want as many people as possible to find out about the benefits. 

“As a free promotional opportunity, offered by such a well-respected organisation such as Arts Well, being listed in the Directory and its associated promotion is a great opportunity for creative practitioners to let the people of Cornwall know what they have to offer. It has worked extremely well for me and I am grateful to have my activities included again this year.” 

Many attendees have commented on the benefits of attending their sessions, noting the importance of having this protected time to explore their creativity in a safe space, gain confidence and develop a new skill with like-minded people.  

Vicki Bampfield-Hammond, a programme coordinator of Arts Well, based in Penryn, explained the importance of the directory’s listings reaching far. She said: “Cornwall is a hotbed of creative activity which is good, because doing something creative is essential for our health and wellbeing. We all know that physical activity is good for our health; the evidence for the benefits of creative activity on our health and wellbeing is just as strong. 

“To help people find opportunities to get creative in Cornwall, we have developed an online directory of practitioners and organisations offering activities across Cornwall. 

“Celebrating 12 months since it first launched, we are working hard to ensure all content is accurate whilst inviting practitioners to tell us about any new opportunities that they want to share. It has worked extremely well for everyone that has been listed over the past 12 months and we are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity for another year.” 

Arts Well promotes events, workshops and creative activities – both in person and online – connecting people as a fundamental way to protect mental health, with research indicating that it can have as great an impact on morbidity and mortality as smoking. 

Their directory is updated monthly, helping people to find local creative opportunities; listings are in alphabetical order by location to help people identify opportunities near to them more easily, as well as colour coded into four areas: Cornwall wide, West Cornwall, Mid Cornwall, North & East Cornwall. 

People can download the directory by visiting the resources page of Arts Well’s website: https://arts-well.com/resources/ 

Anyone who wants to add a listing should email [email protected].  

The “Creativity – It’s good for you” campaign is one strand of the Creative, Health and Wellbeing Partnership project, funded by Cornwall Council’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) and launched in the spring of 2022.