Berkshire community project creates art empowering women

A COMMUNITY project in Reading has empowered the women using its services to create beautiful pieces of artwork which are being used to support the charity.

Alana House, part of local charity Parents And Children Together (PACT), ran a series of art sessions to enable women to learn how to create unique and meaningful designs using an expressive, intuitive artistic process. Through the Painting with Purpose project led by professional artist Chrissie Hawkes, attendees learned how to use colour, texture and blending to create striking pieces of art.

PACT is pleased to be selling a selection of the women’s artwork as high quality prints in their online shop. Through selling the art prints, PACT aims to raise funds for the services they provide including their women’s community project Alana House, their domestic abuse recovery programme Bounce Back 4 Kids, and their specialist adoption support services for families who adopt through the charity.

Opened in 2010, Alana House uses a holistic and trauma-informed approach to support and empower women facing multiple disadvantages such as homelessness, domestic abuse, financial difficulties, mental health problems and contact with the criminal justice system. Alana House welcomes all women who feel they need support and provides a non-judgemental space to help women turn their lives around.

A total of 10 women took part in the project. Starting with three primary colours – red, yellow and blue – each woman mixed their own paints and added light and dark to create a range of colours, tints and shades. Using a variety of textures and techniques such as scraping, scratching and stamping, they created unique, intuitive designs which helped to build their confidence and self-esteem and empower them to express their creativity.

One woman who took part in the project said: “I find art therapeutic. I was able to turn something simple into a meaningful piece of art for others to enjoy and reflect upon.”

“The team at Alana House are very friendly and supportive. They offer a wide range of courses to meet new people, develop new skills and improve general wellbeing.”

Another participant said: “Making the art for me was something liberating, it enabled me to clear my mind and leave all my stress, worries and anxieties on that piece of canvas. You don’t always realise it at first, but when you become open to creativity, it enables you to find creative solutions for all your problems and situations.”

“Alana House is a safe space, a listening ear, a helping hand… It’s a road to recovery, empowering you over your circumstances in order to make positive change over your life.”

Lynda Souter, the Alana House team leader who set up the project, said: “It’s amazing to see the beautiful pieces of art the women have produced, especially knowing some of the challenges they face in their daily lives. One woman who took part was facing homelessness when she attended the painting sessions, and thanks to Alana House she has now secured safe accommodation. It’s truly inspiring to see these women express their creativity through art and we hope to run more sessions in the future.”

PACT Chief Executive Natausha van Vliet said: “We are so proud of the incredible artwork created by the women through the Painting with Purpose project. This is one of many creative projects we have run at Alana House, and each time I am inspired by the talent and passion of our service users.”

The art prints are available to buy here in PACT’s online shop. Each piece of art has been reproduced through a high quality giclée printing process on textured fine art paper and comes as a 6×4 inch print within an 8×6 inch mount to aid with framing. Prints cost £20 plus postage and each print includes the story of the artist’s Alana House journey.