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Open Arts

Open Arts is a community arts and health programme, which helps manage and maintain mental health and wellbeing through creativity.

Open Arts begins a new chapter!

Thanks to our partnership with Garon Park Community Interest Company, Open Arts are the new tenants in a new and exciting arts and wellbeing centre! We can’t wait to start running our courses and studio placements at this new and accessible modern space.

We have an open referral route for Essex residents aged 16 or older, who have either experienced
mental health problems or are a carer. We also offer workshops in 'Open Space'  to anyone that would like
to help their wellbeing by being creative. 

Our new site is at Garon Community Centre, Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, Southend on Sea SS2 4FA (first road on the right as you come off the roundabout to Garon Park, behind Kids Kingdom)


To find out about our please visit 'Courses and events

Please like/follow our Facebook/Instagram/X /YouTube accounts @OpenArtsEssex to keep in touch and watch our Open Arts Promotion film

Thank you



Open Arts is a community arts and mental health service run as one of the charities managed within the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust Charity Fund. Our aims are to promote confidence, skills, self-esteem and positive mental health. Open to Essex residents aged 16+ with mental ill health, those that would like to manage their wellbeing through creativity and to carers who would like to engage with the wider community through the creative arts within a group setting. The courses offer an opportunity to learn new creative skills and techniques within a safe and supportive 

We also run art courses for those that want to be creative to help their wellbeing.

No experience is necessary. 


What We Do

Our courses are facilitated by a professional lead artist with support from volunteer art assistants, 
and held in community locations rather than clinical settings to promote social inclusion. 

Depending on the area, a representative from the local college information, guidance and advice service attends in the final weeks of the course, to signpost on to further educational and vocational opportunities, facilitating a smooth transition to maintain social inclusion.

At the end of the 12 week course, a six month studio placement is offered for independent art making within the same supportive studio environment. The studio time is used to continue to 
develop and improve what participants learned on their 12 week course through development of their arts practice with the support of studio managers and their peers around them.
Participants are also encouraged to visit a gallery with the group and take part in a workshop within the gallery space. If they take up the studio placement they have the opportunity to work towards exhibiting in local art trails and open day events. 

Contact Us

If you would like to talk about how you might get involved with Open Arts, we'd love to hear from you. 
If you prefer, any health or social care worker, friend or family member can refer you. Just ask them to contact us.

Open Arts, Garon Park Community Centre, Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, Southend on Sea, SS2 4FA, UK

Open Arts is managed under EPUT Charity Fund.

Registered Charity number 1053793

07580 982462

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How We Help

Our courses include taster sessions in visual arts, such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, creative writing and crafts. We also offer drama, digital arts and photography courses that help develop new skills and confidence. But most importantly, we offer a positive and productive environment that has been part of many people's recovery.


Who is it for?

All our participants are aged 16 or older, who have either experienced mental health problems or are a carer.

Our 'Open Space' art groups are open to anyone that wants to be creative for their own wellbeing. 


Volunteering with Open Arts

 We are always delighted to have new people join us as volunteers. Our volunteers are highly valued as key members of the team. Please contact us to talk about what you could do, and find out how to apply.

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“I felt I was treated as an artist, not a person with mental health problems”

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