Creative Minds is an arts organisation and social enterprise and was founded in November 2012 by James Cropper and is based in Guildford, Surrey. Over the last 4 years our Art Sessions have had a huge impact on the lives of older adults, people with learning disabilities and adults in the community enabling people of all ages and abilities to explore their creativity.
Our Art Sessions are delivered by our community of Creative Minds Artists across the country and enable the participants to explore their creativity and create art and crafts with the support and guidance of an experienced artist. As a community we currently deliver over 250 Art Sessions a month to over 1300 participants and these figures are climbing. As a social enterprise we have 2 important social aims which are key to what we do…
Our social aims are:
To empower and enhance people’s lives through art and creativity. We want to empower the individual and improve their well-being.
To make art accessible to everyone. We want to encourage as many people as possible to give art and crafts a go.
We are continually striving to achieve our social aims ensuring that as many people as possible can benefit from our services and access art. Every artist who joins Creative Minds believes passionately about the arts for health and well being and is aligned with our social aims.
Since leaving Art College, many years ago, I have worked in a variety of creative jobs including scene painting, prop making, window dressing, graphics and even sculpting and painting figures in a wax works studio!
For the last eight years I have worked in a Primary School teaching Art and Crafts. It is a fabulous job which I find very rewarding.
I feel so lucky to be part of the ‘Creative Minds’ team. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to work in the community and to bring a little piece of creative happiness into people’s lives.
“I have always enjoyed being creative and feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend most of my life either doing art or teaching it. Having graduated with a degree in fine art from West Surrey College of Art and Design in 1995, I spend several years producing and selling my own work, before training as a teacher in 2002. I have spent 13 years teaching art and textiles to 11-16 year old’s which has been an amazing experience, but when I found out about Creative Minds I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I have worked for a charity who support and deliver art therapy for the past year and have seen the benefits that art can have for mental health and well being. It is fantastic to be able to use my skills as an artist and teacher to help enrich the lives of others and encourage creativity, which we all know is good for the soul.”
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining Creative Minds?
“It was a bit scary giving up a good job with a secure income, but I am so glad I did, and I would encourage anyone else who is thinking of becoming a Creative Minds Artist to take the opportunity and discover how rewarding delivering Art Sessions can be.”
I graduated in 1991 with a Degree in Fine Art and Music, specialising in Sculpture, then later returned to University to complete a post graduate diploma in Youth and Community Arts in 2004.
I developed an interest in creating Art from an early age. I remember as a child spending all my spare time drawing my favourite pop stars, painting, using oil pastels and I loved using crayons to produce beautiful effects.
For the last 16 years, I have worked for a variety of charities and voluntary organisations in the UK and abroad, managing volunteers, fundraising and supporting vulnerable people affected by issues such as Drug and Alcohol dependency, Domestic Abuse and Homelessness. Within all my various roles I have endeavoured to include creativity wherever possible as well as designing charity Christmas cards.
I have also worked as a Youth worker in Youth Clubs running Arts and Crafts clubs and worked with young people who have been disengaged from education for a variety of reasons, using visual arts and drama, including mask & puppet making and graffiti art to help tackle difficult issues such as Sexual Health and low self-worth.
With all the different people I have worked with over the years, no matter what their life experiences or abilities, I have always been so heartened and pleasantly surprised how the use of visual arts can improve an individuals mood and in turn, increase confidence and self-esteem and I have often witnessed people who thought they had no creativity at all, surprise themselves by achieving so much more than they had ever imagined possible.
Working with Creative Minds gives me the opportunity to do something I love every day, as well as having a social impact by bringing visual arts to people who may no longer have the chance to take part or haven’t been involved in. I am looking forward to having many enjoyable experiences with Creative Minds and hope to help people surprise themselves too!
Our vibrant community is growing and we are always looking for artists who are supportive and compassionate to join us enabling people to explore their creativity.