To date, Create’s visual artist Sheridan Quigley has been involved in two projects: art:space for young carers and art:links for vulnerable older people. Here she talks about her experiences:
“I have always had art in my life. My parents are artists, so I grew up steeped in it. At school and university, though, I tried hard to be ‘normal’ – people’s perception of artists was that they were bohemian and flaky! So I studied Modern Languages & European Studies and spent a large part of my working life in the City doing law and accountancy. In my late twenties, I went to Central Saint Martins to do a part-time MA in Fine Art. I only got into art properly about six years ago, though, and am now a painter/sculptor, working across a wide range of artforms.
I think what art brings to people is ‘the art of looking’. The more you look, the more you notice and the more you want to understand. Everything is fascinating.
I started working in community settings when someone from the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex saw a workshop I’d run for an afterschool club and asked me to run a project at a school based on ‘Utopia’. I worked for a while as a teacher for ‘gifted & talented’ children and also for Creative Partnerships.
People learn better through a creative process – it’s all about the creative experience and using it to develop the whole person.
My favourite project so far has been creating a memory tree with the older people during art:links, being able to give them a different creative experience. The new materials and techniques expanded their comfort zone and they made something amazing! I really enjoyed building relationships with them over the 10 week project too – normally when you run workshops, you just see people for half a day! The sense of continuity added a whole new dimension to the project.