Breaking Through: Unknown & Unseen exhibition for community art

There is a growing understanding of the impact that taking part in the arts can have on health and wellbeing. As an arts society with an interest in supporting community art, we are aware that many local support groups situated on the Fylde Coast encourage their clients to get involved with creative art as a means of recreation, help and therapy. These artworks, often produced under unconventional or difficult circumstances, by artists,  for pleasure, recreation or their own fulfilment are seldom seen other than by the group itself.

An opportunity to help such groups get their work on display was identified after The Arts Society Fylde was approached by Kirkham Prison to help with its Inside Art group and especially with getting the prisoners’ art on display in the wider community.  It was decided that we would take this idea further and involve art from other community groups, as well as prisoner art. Society member Tony Tackett, along with a number of volunteers, was instrumental in getting the exhibition off the ground. Finding a suitable venue wasn’t easy and after much searching it was decided that the Solaris Centre in Blackpool would fit the bill. The exhibition, Breaking Through: Unknown & Unseen, came to fruition in November 2018.

Exhibits were drawn from four diverse Fylde Coast community groups that provide help and support to people affected by some of the hurdles experienced in today’s society, but who have shown respond positively to an involvement with creative art activities. The groups were all situated in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. The four were:

  • The Harbour mental health hospital
  • HMP Kirkham
  • Stand Together and Recover (STAR), a centre for adults living with mental illness
  • The New Langdale, a day centre for adults with learning difficulties.

The range and diversity of the work, and the artistic talent on show was impressive. All works had been created under unconventional or difficult circumstances, and were moving and thought-provoking, especially as many were created by individuals with a challenging cocktail of conditions. Some were for sale and it is a testament to the talents of many of the artists that their works were snapped up.

Tony Tackett said: “A major role of The Arts Society Fylde is to ensure that we are part of the fabric of the Fylde Coast community and a positive force for the wider benefit of arts at local level. We do this by networking, supporting the local voluntary and community sector, and involving ourselves in worthwhile community activities. Therefore, the Society is delighted to have played a role in organising this exhibition, and providing an opportunity for those who create art in these circumstances, to display their works and be recognised for their artistic efforts.”

Breaking Through: Unknown & Unseen, was formally opened at a preview on 8 November 2018 and ran for three weeks.


Caption: one of the artists with her exhibits