Enterprise strives to promote artistic skills

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AN art enterprise has brought the skills and talents of artists living with epilepsy and learning and physical difficulties to West Sussex.

ARTHOUSE Meath is a project which enables over 70 artists to work along instructors who help groups and individuals to create artworks which are developed into products for sale – further supporting the enterprise.

Based in Godalming, ARTHOUSE Meath’s impact is felt across Sussex, as the group has connections with both Chichester and Brighton.

Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery has stocked ARTHOUSE Meath’s products for several years. In addition, ARTHOUSE Meath member Peter Andrews held an Outside In exhibition at the gallery, in which works such as Peter’s The Dancer was featured.

Katie Abbott, ARTHOUSE Meath marketing manager, said: “We refer to the people who work here as artists, as they create the artwork which is used on our products that are sold.

“We have a shop where we sell our products, so people can choose a card, print, present, or mug, and we can demonstrate to the artists who is buying their work.

“We feel that this has a positive impact on the community, and helps break down misconceptions about people with disabilities.

“Most of our artists are based at the The Meath Epilepsy Charity, but around 10 to 15 per cent of our artists are people who live in the community.

“All the artists live with a disability which is managed by medication and a team of carers.

“I’m so proud to be a part of it – it’s all down to the vision and bravery of Becky Sheraidah, an artist who lives in Brighton, who is the ARTHOUSE Meath founder.

“We exhibit and sell the artwork every year at the Brighton Art Fair, something we have done for nine years – here, we can exhibit alongside mainstream artists. We are massively grateful to Brighton Art Fair for their support.

“We are a team here – although the artists create all the artwork and images, the products are produced by the wider team – we have a design team and a business administration team.”

Although ARTHOUSE Meath works to support and inspire the local community, it also has national and international impact.

Katie said: “We’ve recently done work with global cosmetics brand Lush, who approached us to see whether they could use some of the artist’s designs on their packaging. Of course we said yes, and the results can be seen in their 930 stores right now on two lovely gift sets.

“This way of working is something we’re doing more of now, with two other collaborations with high street brands in the pipeline as we speak.

“We have over 150 stockists nationally and internationally including the likes of Conran, Tate Modern, Amnesty Inetrnational, Lily Cole’s Impossible Shop – the list goes on!”

The team at ARTHOUSE Meath hope to one day continue to expand the enterprise.

Katie said: “We would love to open other ARTHOUSE Meath groups across the country.

“As we have so many big connections with Brighton - half the staff live in the city and our screen printer lives in Brighton – in an ideal world, Brighton, as a community known for being artistic and liberal, would be an ideal place to start.”

“That’s a hope and dream of ours - it would be great if we could achieve that one day!”

All artwork and products are available to buy on ARTHOUSE Meath’s website at www.arthousemeath.com. All revenue goes towards sustaining the enterprise and helps the project to grow and evolve.