Our Story

Arty-Folks was founded in November 1995 by users of mental health services who felt disempowered by their diagnosis, ‘managed’ by the medical profession, and written off by society in collaboration with a community artist.

We ran our first workshop on 25th April 1996 and we have offered an uninterrupted service since on a limited budget with the support of our wonderful Peer Volunteers.

We believe that most mental distress is caused by life experiences and circumstances often outside the person’s control.  By 2017 we were running four weekly creative Peer Support groups including one specifically for 18-30 years old who are struggling to transition into independence and adulthood.

Art requires the courage to let go of certainties
and not being afraid to fail.

Our programme combines learning specific visual arts techniques with self-development themes that helps people break out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.  We believe that within everyone lives a spirit of inquiry that can lead to extraordinary insights and breakthroughs and will build people’s resilience to cope with change and withstand setbacks.

We often think about creativity as making something new and original, but in fact the latin root meaning of the word means ‘to grow’.

Participant 2017, now Art Teacher at Secondary School.

 “Arty-Folks helps clear the clutter from your mind and gain some perspective on what really matters. Seeing your deepest thoughts and feelings express in pieces of art is an extremely cathartic and therapeutic experience.”

Commissioned by Warwickshire County Council we started offering Art for Wellbeing in January 2021, an extensive programme of art and mental health workshops and courses for residents in Coventry&Warwickshire with mild to moderate mental health needs.  The people who come to Arty-Folks are seeking our support to grow through challenging times in their lives and to map their own way forward.

We recognise that this is a very difficult transition to make and with this in mind we have embedded 1:1 Coaching and Mentoring throughout our service to help our members resolve issues impacting on their mental health such as debts, benefits, medical reviews, homelessness, hoarding, safeguarding, physical health and addictions.

This involves solution-focused confidential discussions and support to access opportunities to increase your health and wellbeing including volunteering, education, and employment.