As part of Wewioraprojects Helen Wewiora has been working as the Curator with 42nd Street, a Youth Mental Health Charity in Ancoats and a host of artists and art organisations on a Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘A Different Spirit’.
A Different Spirit is a programme of work exploring the role of creative engagement in positive mental health and wellbeing, inspired by the 19th century Ancoats Art Museum.
In 1884, Thomas Horsfall opens The Ancoats Art Museum to “alleviate the miserable dullness and emptiness of the life lived by a very large proportion of the inhabitants of Manchester.” A friend and self-appointed disciple of Ruskin, Thomas Horsfall was committed to demonstrating that art and nature could stimulate the character, the morals and the skills of the working classes. With rooms dedicated to painting, sculpture, architecture, and domestic arts, the museum made an important contribution to thinking around the role of culture in wellbeing and social change.
130 years later, ten young people from an Ancoats based mental health charity travelled to Lawson Park, the home of Grizedale Arts in Cumbria. Over the course of a three day residential the young people made jam, sausages, created wallpaper, walked the fells and explored the philosophies of John Ruskin. This was their first step in an 18-month project to reanimate the Ancoats Art Museum.
Various ‘Moments’ of the programme have since taken place with more information about the project available via http://www.adifferentspirit.org.uk/category/home/moments/