An art exhibition aimed at addressing the harmful effects of isolation is currently being held in Stroud’s Five Valleys Shopping Centre. The Loneliness Project, organized by The Independence Trust, a mental health support group, seeks to shed light on the impact of loneliness through art. The exhibition, which features a diverse range of artworks, is accompanied by a pop-up wellbeing support shop for visitors to access additional resources and assistance.
Anni Dalton, the lead organizer of the exhibition, shared her personal experience of how The Independence Trust helped her after going through a traumatic event. She strongly believes in the healing power of art and its ability to inspire individuals. This exhibition provides a safe and supportive environment for people to express themselves, offering a creative outlet for those who may struggle to verbalize their feelings.
One participant, Angela Butler, has found art to be a therapeutic medium for her own emotional journey. Through Dalton’s art classes, she has discovered a way to express her emotions without needing to find the right words. This highlights the transformative potential of art as a means of self-expression and healing.
In addition to showcasing artwork, the exhibition also offers a unique opportunity for visitors to meet the artists behind the pieces. The pop-up shop is staffed by mental health and community wellbeing support workers who are available to provide guidance and assistance to those in need. The Independence Trust’s Loneliness Project extends its support beyond the art exhibition, offering activities such as gardening, walking, and creative writing to promote social connection and well-being.
Sue Tomlinson, the district team leader at The Independence Trust, emphasizes that the pandemic has exacerbated feelings of loneliness and isolation for many individuals. The exhibition aims to give voice to those who have experienced this and provide a platform for their stories to be heard.
The Loneliness Project exhibition and support shop will be open to the public from November 13th to November 18th. This event not only encourages engagement with the arts but also aims to raise awareness about the profound impact of loneliness on mental health. By combining art and support services, The Independence Trust hopes to create a space where individuals can find solace, inspiration, and connection amidst the challenges of isolation.