“Don’t be evil.” Did you know this was once Google’s motto? The phrase was famous for representing Google’s values as a business, summed up in three words.
We at Artbox also have values. Six words we’ve chosen that describe the way we relate to and support each other, and what matters to us. Of course we could have chosen a lot more but we think these six are the most important. So in no particular order, our values are…
It’s obvious, right? We’re all about art – creating it, researching it, showing it off in our exhibitions… Creativity is at the heart of what we do. It’s good for mental health and expressing yourself, great for exploring and discovering the world, and an excellent reason to bring people together to share ideas and bounce off each other.
Just set one foot inside the door of our studio and you can see and hear the fun being had by artists and volunteers. Art can be a serious business, but we like to bring it to life with music, chat, laughter and even the occasional dance… it’s all about being together and having fun while being creative. Which leads us nicely to…
No one likes feeling alone or like they’re not welcome. Unfortunately this is something that people with learning disabilities and autism tend to experience more than others, due to stigma, negativity around learning disability, and the fact they often spend a lot more time at home. Artbox offers something really important for people with learning disabilities and autism who are at risk of social exclusion – a sense of community. It’s what keeps our artists and volunteers coming back for many years (some since 2011!) and is the reason we have so much fun!
One of the things we’re constantly surprised by is the sheer range of ideas and originality on display in the artwork that’s created. We’re all different, but nowhere is this more evident that in the art people choose to create, as a trip to one of our exhibitions will show! Respect and appreciation for the differences between us as individuals and artists is something we hold very dear at Artbox.
It might seem a small thing, but it’s so important. All of us make so many choices each day, that we’d certainly notice if our ability to choose was restricted or taken away. This is a reality for some people with learning disabilities, particularly those with higher level care and support needs. So at Artbox we make sure that our artists have full choice and control over their work – they are creatives in the true sense and our volunteers provide practical help to make their ideas come to life.
We encourage our artists to dream big – to be ambitious and not feel limited because of their disability or condition. Hisba once told us she wanted to be an international artist and go to live in New York to make and teach art. This is the kind of thing we love to hear! Our artists have so much talent and it’s great to see their self-confidence take off through coming to Artbox.