Throughout lockdown, Sutton College and Sutton Women’s centre worked together to provide online Art for Wellbeing courses to help women affected by domestic violence.
The online courses encouraged students to remained connected and motivated throughout lockdown.
Tutor Anna Virabyan, led 3 classes each week, enabling the women to explore their artistic skills, learning to express themselves and their feelings, creating beautiful pieces of art along the way.
The classes focused on different methods of art including portrait and still life, composition and experimenting with various mediums as well as providing an opportunity for the students to interact and bond with other women on the course and use the art as a method of relaxation. The sessions, funded by Sutton College, covered different styles of art too including Picasso, Kandinsky and Dali.
Tutor Anna Virabyan said:
“Women I have worked with in the past years, the change of their experience was dramatic, from starting with dark colours, and drawings like a child would make, and no words to express how they were feeling, to growing in confidence and using lots of different and vibrant colours to express their emotions. This helped them to be able to formulate their feelings verbally too.
By using creativity, participants practiced visual communication. They are encouraged to engage with their community, reducing feelings of isolation. Over the National Lockdowns online classes showed how free and creative they can feel by simply being themselves and getting in touch with their true selves. They improve massively over the year and their amazing art works speak loudly.”
Feedback from students on the course included:
‘The course has helped me to widen my knowledge of the ways that can be used to demonstrate artistic creativity. It has inspired me to use my mind in different ways, to create art pieces and to deal with problems in life. It gives me more confidence.”
“I have learnt to express myself better through art and find the classes very therapeutic.’
The atmosphere of working together with other members of the group and the feedback has helped to keep me feel connected during lockdown. I’ve looked forward to the class every week.”
“I have achieved a real sense of well-being and inclusion. I also feel that my artistic skills are constantly improving.”
“The way Anna has taught me, it’s not just art, it is me expressing myself. I understand the huge therapy that art can bring me and the others on in my group. My goals are to keep enjoying it, grow in my knowledge of art and continue to have my special place I can go to when I want. I see my art as part of my self-care now, which is wonderful.
I can feel the skill of self care being met through my art, which is amazing. It brings me joy and peace and my soul is grateful that it is being fed by my art. I can feel my art healing places inside me.”
Sutton College continues to work with partners in the London Borough of Sutton to provide community learning courses to help with physical Health and Wellbeing, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Digital Inclusion, Social Cohesion and Employability.
Sutton Women’s Centre has provided women in Sutton a safe space to access information, support, advice and education for over 30 years. More information can be found at www.suttonwomenscentre.co.uk.
Full information on Sutton College courses can be found at www.suttoncollege.ac.uk . Details on learning in the Community via Sutton College can be found at www.suttoncollege.ac.uk/courses/family-community/#community
Art created by students on Art for Wellbeing course