Open Houses festival launches art materials bank for homeless people and recovering addicts

Posted On 14 May 2019 at 2:47 pm

left to right: Artist Fred Pipes Artist, festival director Judy Stevens, vicar of St Luke’s Martin Poole, artists Sarah Watson and Victor Crelauet. Picture by Alyx Ashton.

The Artists Open Houses festival has launched an art materials bank for artists who have been homeless or recovering addicts.

The festival has teamed up with St Luke’s Church in Prestonville and is now asking members of the public to donate art materials such as paints, inks, brushes, crayons, paper, collage materials and anything else that could be of use to those who can’t normally get access to art materials.

St Luke’s Church will provide a reception centre throughout the festival where donations can be given between 9.30am to 1pm, Tuesdays to Fridays.

St Luke’s Church is also showing work by several artists who have experienced periods of homelessness or struggled with addiction and mental illness.

The exhibition will also feature pieces by artists whose lives have been transformed by their involvement in the recovery groups, volunteer organisations and choirs which are hosted at St Luke’s at 64 Old Shoreham Road, Brighton.

Victor Crelauet is an artist who arrived in England from Spain three years ago. He spent several years homeless but through the help of the Clock Tower Sanctuary is now doing a part-time art course at Brighton’s Met College.

He said: “My homeless experience wasn’t a negative one but as a homeless person I couldn’t get access to any education and now through the help of Clock Tower I have managed to become a student at The Met and am participating in my first Artists Open Houses festival.

“The art bank is such a great idea and a really big help for artists like me who wouldn’t normally be able to afford art supplies.”

Other organisations showing the work of marginalised artists during the festival include:

  • Just Life Creative also shows the work of artists who have experienced homelessness; Just Life Creative offers peer support and guidance for professional and artistic development.
  • In the same trail, Preston Park Recovery Centre, set in a beautiful old house and garden, shows the work of artists who use their Recovery Services, building bridges to the wider community.
  • 18 Preston Park Avenue, Brighton Creative Future Artists are exhibiting their limited edition prints at Barker and Stonehouse furniture store in Old Shoreham Road, Hove, as part of the independent trail. Creative Future provides opportunities for under-represented artists to have their work seen.
  • At The Black Minority and Ethnic Community Partnership, BMECP, Sarah Watson, an artist with learning disabilities, is exhibiting colourful expressive portraits depicting her heroes and villains, including the likes of Gareth Southgate, David Shrigley and Boris Johnson. Self-taught, Sarah has been an artist since the age of 15 and believes that art helps her to maintain focus and cope with her anxiety. Sarah is also a member of Carousel, an organisation that helps learning disabled artists develop and manage their creative lives, challenging expectations of what great art is and who can create it.

Full listings can be found at

Brighton and Hove Artist Open Houses, the originator of the Open House movement, date back to 1981 when an artist from the Fiveways area of Brighton, Ned Hoskins opened his house to the public to view his work, and that of a group of friends.

Other artists in the area followed suit to form the Fiveways Artist Group. In a city full of creatives, the idea proved popular and soon Artist Open Houses sprung up all over the city.

The Artist Open Houses festival is now the largest event of its kind in the UK. Around 200 houses and studio spaces across the city open their doors for the main festival in May and around 60 open during the Christmas festival. Over 2,000 artists and makers share their work and homes each year.

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