Open Arms all set to stage inaugural exhibition at Honiton art gallery

Open Arms East Devon, the Honiton-based mental health group, are launching their first ever exhibition at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) in the town.

A thought-provoking exhibition, it will feature work created by members of Open Arms in their weekly art sessions. On display will be paintings, clay masks, prints, ceramics and sculptures.

Open Arms East Devon is a group founded by Garry Wakeham, who has himself encountered mental health issues.

The group meets at Dunning Court Community Centre, Honiton, on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 4pm, and welcomes anybody struggling with their mental health-and those who support them.

The sessions give people the chance to talk openly about mental health and to enjoy different activities.

The exhibition is also supported by Recovery DevonHoniton United Charities, and the Allhallows Trust

Garry explained: At first some people didn’t want to take part in the art sessions but we slowly built up their confidence and encouraged them to join in and feel comfortable in their surroundings. They are now so proud of how much they have achieved. They have excelled way beyond what they thought they could do.

 “It is so important for the members to know what an achievement it is to have created their own art exhibition.

“Some of the members have enjoyed it so much they have made one artwork for the exhibition and another to keep at home!”

One of the participants commented: “Open Arms is a ‘godsend’. It has helped me to open up and ask for help. It has also helped me to be very creative and praise everything I do.”

Open Arms Exhibition (4 January – 8 February 2020). Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

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