Our Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Dom Miller-Graham, looks ahead to new art therapy classes launching soon.
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In an addition to our wellbeing work for Fife’s LGBTI+ community, we’re excited to offer a new queer creative safe space with local queer artist Abz Mills!
“If we can’t change our reality, we can colour it in” is Abz’s response to our current COVID-19 climate. A Fife-based artist of many mediums, she shares our feelings, “I’m excited to be bringing these art therapy classes to Pink Saltire as a member of the Fife LGBTQ+ community.”
The last year has certainly called on all our creativity resources, from getting our messages to meeting with our pals, it called for an extra dash of something and we’ve had to get creative. Of course, this is nothing new to us, to the LGBTI+ community, we’ve always had to deploy a little extra to navigate the world – from getting our groceries to meeting with our pals, we’ve had to be creative.
A safe inclusive creative space is extra important. It’s a place we can relax, learn to let our guard down, just be us and express ourselves together so we then meet the challenges of life. This is the space Abz is offering, “With the gift of technology, we don’t even have to leave our homes! We can all stay safe and keep our sanity by chilling out, creating some art together, connect with others in the rainbow family to help us all heal through what seems like a never ending tough time for everyone.”
Pink Saltire’s Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Dom Miller-Graham said, “Our creativity is even more important now. We’re looking at another period of change, we will need bespoke strategies balancing new variables, as we ‘unlock’ we will be called on again to get creative. It’s been a long year for many of us so the thought of facing that can be paralysing, we can feel anxious and tense, once that happens our creativity can dry up. Abz is offering us all a stress-free safe space to get creative and we can all do with that.”
Abz is offering more than a safe space and her artistic expertise, “being creative can change your brainwaves!”, Dom goes on, “drawing, colouring in, knitting and many many other creative activities are evidenced to have physical health benefits, from lowering our blood pressure to improving our immune response. People with chronic pain and/or anxiety have also felt the benefits of a creative practice, acting like mediation but without any of the pressure, but still lowering our heartrates and allowing ourselves an immersive distraction. Abz, in all her generosity, is offering us some well-deserved dopamine!”
Art can also help you deal with feelings and emotions which can sometimes feel overwhelming. Abz’s mum, Catherine Mills, shared how art has helped her:
“From my own experience I found that participating in art therapy sessions enabled me to get through a particularly painful period in my life when my twin sister was dying from breast cancer and passed away. In a safe and secure environment, I allowed myself to express my innermost feelings and emotions using different creative media. The members of the group had all agreed that everything that was discussed within each session was confidential. There was never any pressure for people to discuss their creations but I often found it helpful to do so as rest of the group were always very understanding and supportive. The combination of the expressive element of sessions and then the analysis of the feelings involved really helped me get through that particularly difficult time.”
Here in Scotland we can boast about our impressive population of LGBTI+ artists and creatives, but you only need their inspiration to come along and enjoy sloshing some paint about or smearing some charcoal with good company – all abilities are welcome! Abz has promised to use her skills to get everyone involved, no matter your abilities or arts and crafts supplies, it’s just another opportunity for her to get us all being more creative together!
The first session of ‘Queer Art with Abz’ will be held on Friday the 29th of April at 7-8pm, from then on it will be the last Friday of every month and, although there’s no commitment to come every month, there are limited spaces available so look out for our Eventbrite and get your spot booked as soon as possible!
Eventbrite booking opens 12th April.