"Stunning" artwork created as part of an innovative project which uses rare museum artefacts to inspire people with mental health problems while supporting their wellbeing is to go on show at two special exhibitions.
The pieces were created as part of the Creative Heritage in Mind initiative which is led by the Association for Suffolk Museums working in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. They will be displayed at the Town Hall in Ipswich and Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds.
They have been put together after artist Juliet Lockhart worked with groups of people with mental health problems in four of the county's museums – Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, Ipswich Museum, Moyse's Hall in Bury, and the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.
Participants would research the collections before making their own creative response to the material.
The initiative reached more than 60 people in its first year, and has proved so successful that it has now attracted funding towards continuing the work.
Maggie Batchelar, Art Therapist with NSFT, said: "The project has gone incredibly well, and we have received some fantastic feedback from those who have taken part. Participants have reported lots of positive, recovery-focused outcomes from their involvement, and feel less isolated and more engaged with their community and local museums.
"People have told us the project is sustaining their mental wellbeing, inspiring creativity and increasing confidence, which were some of the key outcomes we hoped for when we developed the course.
"Many of the participants hadn't done any art since they left school, but since taking part in the course most are continuing making art in their own time, which is great news.
"All of the artwork which has been produced is really quite stunning. We would encourage anyone with an interest to come along to one of the exhibitions and enjoy these fantastic pieces first-hand."
The exhibitions take place at the Town Hall in Ipswich from 6 September to 1 October and Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds from 17 to 23 September.
People are welcome to meet the artists in Ipswich on 10 September from 2pm to 3.30pm.
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