Project Uses Art to Help Addicted

The Shed, a project in England, is using art to help homeless people and individuals addicted to alcohol and other drugs learn new skills and work on problems in a safe haven, the Bath Chronicle reported May 27.

This month, The Shed will be hosting an art exhibition during the two-week Bath Fringe Festival. Some of the clients will be exhibiting paintings that reflect their struggles with drugs. Among them is Lily, 22, who was studying art before getting addicted.

“This exhibition has helped me to stay off drugs because I have had a deadline and I’ve been serious about getting back into art,” said Lily. “It helps being around people during the day. It’s something to get out of bed for. If I’m just at home it’s difficult to dedicate myself to a project.”

Lily’s artwork is part of an exhibition called “On the Fringes,” a showcase of artworks produced by people living on the edge of society. The exhibit gives a glimpse of the artist’s life beyond their problems.

The Shed was established in 2001 in association with the Julian House and Bath Churches Housing Association. Since them, more than 200 people have come to The Shed, many referrals from various homelessness and addiction agencies in Bath.

“We hope to help people to fill their days meaningfully, to encourage them to discover skills they have, to experiment and develop,” said Fiona Henderson, volunteer coordinator for Julian House. “It would be nice if people could come to see the exhibition and not just judge the homeless, and those who have issues with drugs, by what they see on the streets.”