The Beaney among six venues confirmed for Southbank Centre’s Art by Post touring exhibition.

The Southbank Centre unveils the six venues which will participate in the nationwide tour of its much-anticipated exhibition Art by Post: Of Home and Hope.

The exhibition launches on Monday 20 September at the Southbank Centre in London, in partnership with the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP), before touring the UK from October.

Touring sites announced are The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury (11 December to 23 January), The Mill Arts Centre and Banbury Museum & Gallery in Oxfordshire, Arts Centre Washington in Sunderland, HOME in Manchester and De Montfort University in Leicester.

In May 2020, Southbank Centre launched Art by Post, sending monthly creative booklets to 4,500 people across the country who were at risk from social isolation and digital exclusion during the pandemic. Many participants were supported by friends, family members, neighbours, healthcare professionals and social prescribing link workers who were vital in referring people to the initiative and joining in with the activities themselves. Included in the packs were Freepost envelopes, encouraging participants to share their artwork. To date, over 40,000 booklets have been sent out and over 600 artworks sent back.

Shaped by the isolating experience of lockdown, the new exhibition, curated by Persilia Caton and endorsed by international health bodies including the World Health Organisation, showcases the power of art on health & wellbeing and celebrates creativity and resilience of participants. It draws on many of the themes included in the commissioned booklets, such as nature, hope, sound and movement.

With participants from Aberdeen to Bangor and Truro to Dover and aged between 18 and 103, the Southbank Centre looks ahead to taking Art by Post on tour to bring the work of participants back to local communities. The tour will be supplemented by a UK-wide poster and bus stop campaign featuring specially-commissioned portrait photography of Art by Post participants.

Alexandra Brierley, Director of Creative Learning, Southbank Centre, said: “We are so proud to announce our six partner venues for Art by Post: Of Home and Hope. Art by Post’s success is down to the participants who have given so generously to the project over the past 18 months and we are delighted to be able to showcase so much of their work in this one-of-a-kind exhibition. Art by Post is demonstrating the transformative power of art for health and wellbeing and, alongside the National Academy for Social Prescribing and over 160 partners, we will continue to make the case for enhanced community access and funding to it.”

An online gallery has also been launched. This digital exhibition offer will connect those who are continuing to shield or who are unable to travel. Meanwhile, pop-ups at major NHS Hospital Trusts and care settings nationwide aim to sustain deep community engagement.

Art by Post project participant, said: “Since starting the Art by Post and putting words down on paper, especially the poems, it seems to be much easier, you have brought out a part of me that has laid hidden for virtually all my life, so for that alone, I thank you.”

Art by Post: Of Home and Hope will be at The Beaney from Saturday 11 December to  Sunday 23 January 2022. Admission is free, donations encouraged.

Image credit: ‘Art by Post CR Rob Darch, Kate Elliott, Eoin Carey.Image courtesy of Southbank Centre.’

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Artefacts in exhibition case The Beaney Museum

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