Art For The Terrified!
Art is for everyone! The mantra of the fabulous Amanda Lynch who runs the ‘Art for the Terrified’ groups at our lovely Befriending and Peer Support service in Liverpool.
At a very low point in her life Amanda was referred to our Imagine Mainstream service and received such good support that when she was in recovery she decided to put back and volunteer with us. As a qualified art teacher she decided to start an art group at the Peer Support Service to help others benefit from art as she had done.
“Art helped me so much when the demons got bad. I was very poorly, I know I would have deteriorated even further without that creative outlet and I wanted others to be able to experience the comfort art gave me. ”
‘Art for the Terrified’ was born, so called, Amanda explains because the first students were anxious about socialising, scarred by their life journey so far and told her the prospect of drawing or painting something terrified them; after all they ‘weren’t artists!’. In true form Amanda’s response was; “Everyone’s an artist, you just don’t know it yet.”
She was right, five years on and the groups are still going strong, everyone enjoying every minute of being in their own creative zone. Drop by one of her groups and she’ll have you painting something before you’ve taken your coat off! The classes are a hit and it’s evident in the joy and enthusiasm of everyone who attends and the beautiful work they produce.
There are beginner and advanced classes and Amanda encourages people to learn techniques, progress and grow. The more advanced students volunteer and help the new starters and everyone benefits from the social aspect of the group.
Amanda is down to earth and positive, practical, re-assuring, fun, and gives from the heart; that she cares about people is apparent after spending a few minutes with her and the artists. However, the students are not the only ones who benefit from the art, friendships and social aspect of the classes; Amanda says the students are like a family to her and love and support from the groups has helped her cope with crisis in her own life in the last five years too.
With the success of the art classes, space was getting a bit tight at Peer Support so with help from the service manager, Barry Marshall, Amanda applied for and received funding to help her hire a bigger space and become more independent. Assisted by a group of enthusiastic artist/volunteers she now holds classes at a second venue in Liverpool city centre.
An Art for the Terrified Open Day was held on June 15th with art work on display and for sale. Taking centre stage at the exhibition was the brilliant, ‘Aye You!’ Tapestry that group members had been working on for a while. Each person contributed their own positive words and pictures about themselves and worked on the tapestry. The end result is a fab, colourful and uplifting 4 x1 metre banner paying tribute to the artists (and their textile skills!).
It’s no surprise then that Amanda was voted as our Imagine Volunteer of the Year 2018 at the 800 Group Volunteer Awards this year – we couldn’t be more proud of her!