An exhibition of local artists’ work is now on display at Bedford Borough Hall.
The work, which includes a variety of mediums has all been created by patients at Milton Park Therapeutic Campus in Wyboston.
Art tutor Deborah Hancock explained: “We had an exhibition at Wyboston Village Hall, which the mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, attended.
“He was so impressed by the artwork that he offered us space at Bedford Borough Hall.”
Milton Park Thereputic Campus is an independent hospital for individuals who experience mental health difficulties and have a primary diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder or other mental health conditions.
Deborah added: “The patients come here for rehabilitation so they can move on to more independent living in the community. They do activities that help them develop their social engagement skills.”
The Bigger Picture exhibition features 42 pieces of work by 15 different artists who have participated in a wide range of art activities over a period of six years.
Between them they have won awards from the Koestler Trust, the Care Co-ordination Association and Create! Art for Autism.
They have also had artwork published on the cover of journals, contributed to community art projects – including making a superb wall-hanging for the Wyboston village hall – and have exhibited their work locally each year.
And being involved in art and having their work on display is an enormous benefit to the patients’ self esteem, Deborah added.
She said: “Our patients often feel the they are identified by their diagnosis alone and people don’t see the whole person.
“This gives them the opportunity to connect with other people in a positive way.”
One of the artists was recently presented with a Bronze Award and £20 prize money for his sculpture ‘Star Man’.
He said: “I’m a star man too. I want to make another sculpture now.
“I do art because it helps me to forget things. It’s a way of expressing myself, which maybe I can’t always do socially.
“Doing art sessions has helped me to stay connected to art, and finish my Level 3 BTEC Extended diploma in art and design. I’m thinking about going on to do a degree in Fine Art.”
The exhibition is at the Council Suite at Bedford Borough Hall until February 2. Work featured includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, textiles and ceramics.
The Bigger Picture is open from 8.30am until 5pm, and admission is free.