A tiny hub of creativity on Oxford Street
On Saturday I attended a workshop run by the The Art Room and held in Selfridges. The Art Room is a national charity which offers art as a therapeutic intervention to children and young people. Its patrons include Kate Middleton and Grayson Perry.
The aim of the charity is to build self-esteem and confidence, particularly to those facing challenges in their lives. Each Art Room is designed as a safe place where children and young people can relax, talk and be creative. This valuable practise helps them to re-engage with education and avoid exclusion.
At the Selfridges workshop I was given the opportunity to select an everyday object – clock, apron, bag, mirror, canvas etc – and customise it using any of the paints or items on offer. This methodology is to introduce children to a sense of empowerment through transforming objects, and through this change exploring the possibility of changing themselves.
I was extremely timid in my selection and chose one of the small canvases. I’d love to start oil painting again, and so I thought this might break the ice. I must also apologise for simply copying a Matisse, my former university fine art tutor would be shaking his head at the plagiarism!
I had a wonderful morning, chatting to the art room practitioners while listening to Beethoven. It was a really relaxing experience, and it made me think of the art classes I loved in school. Nowadays we’re all so busy, and I personally can’t recall the last time I painted for two hours, without the distraction of technology. I emerged from Selfridges feeling calm and energised, what a lovely way to spend a morning.
As part of the Selfridges Work It series The Art Room asked 90 leading artists, architects, designers and fashion icons to customise a chair to be displayed in the main atrium. All the chairs will be auctioned next month with proceeds going directly to The Art Room. My favourite chair was the one by Lulu Guinness complete with strawberry milkshake.
A huge thank you to The Art Room for welcoming me. If you’d like to get creative in Selfridges there are only a few places left so don’t delay!