A new art exhibition is celebrating 30 years of mental health in Salford

A new art exhibition is celebrating 30 years of mental health in Salford
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Galerie Jumelles is an online Art Gallery founded by Sierra M. Bretz. Inspired by the French language and lifestyle, Sierra closed her business and her life in the US in 2021 to move to France to promote French Artists.

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To celebrate its 30-year anniversary, START has created a new exhibition, running at  called People & Portraits of Salford. The exhibition shines a spotlight on the charity and the hard work and dedication of its staff and volunteers, alongside some of the stories and achievements of its many service users past and present.  

was the UK’s first ‘arts on prescription’ service founded by Bernadette Conlon in 1993 and in 30 years it has helped an estimated 20,000 people across all corners of Salford using creativity, connection and recovery to improve people’s lives.

People & Portraits of Salford is a variety of quality art works using paints, drawing, textiles, mosaic, ceramics, sculpture, print and photography to create individual portraits and large-scale collaborative pieces that bring people together, reflecting the shared experiences of members.

START’s founder Bernadette says: ‘So many have helped make START a success over the last 30 years. We’re delighted to hold the at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, with which we have a special bond. The team has supported us over the years and it’s the best venue for these works of art to be appreciated. We were delivering art on prescription before it became a recognised form of therapy; for that we are very proud and we know it works, and the people who have exhibited and been through our services over the years are testament to that.’

Claire Corrin, Exhibitions Manager at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with START to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Salford Museum & Art Gallery has a long history of exhibitions and events that engage local communities, visitors and artists. It is important to us that we continue to support and represent local communities by working in partnership with organisations and artists in Salford and beyond.’

Key members of staff, volunteers and service users and members from over the years are represented in art form in the exhibition, including founder Bernadette Conlon, late caretaker John Ball and one of the longest serving volunteers, Paul Jordan. Most of the works have been created especially for this exhibition by START with additional funding from The Arts Society.

A key piece of the exhibition, John, was painted by Paul Jordan aged 69 from Little Hulton who is START’s longest serving volunteer who went through the service himself. Paul enjoyed art so much through START that he went on went on to gain a first degree in Visual Arts from the University of Salford. He is still a volunteer with START running art sessions and providing extra support and welfare advice to those who need it most. 

Many service users have been helped by START which is commissioned through what was Salford CCG and now NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care and turned their lives around, going on to become volunteers, peer mentors, board members, staff and tutors with the charity, which is located just down the road from Salford Museum & Art Gallery at Brunswick House on Broad Street.

A number of ex members have gone onto become artists and poets in their own right, including Salford poet ‘J’ Ahmed who was at the exhibition opening performing two of his poems to more than 300 people and who is a prominent figure in the Greater Manchester mental health landscape.

The exhibition is running until September 24. For more information go to https://salfordmuseum.com/event/start-23/

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