Spotlight shines on Northgate art

An ambitious collaboration between hospital patients, artists and a Northumberland museum has led to a unique exhibition.

Into The Light is the result of months of work by patients at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth, who have teamed up with professional artists to create pieces inspired by the collections at Woodhorn Museum near Ashington.

Participants have also co-curated the exhibition, selecting works and making decisions about their presentation.

Woodhorn Director Keith Merrin said: “Presenting Into The Light at Woodhorn builds on the museum’s commitment to exhibit work by artists who may be excluded from the traditional arts world due to health or social circumstance.”

The Northgate initiative was part of The Arts Project, run by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s Therapeutic Activities Service, to offer a comprehensive programme of practical sessions for patients to learn about art and create their own work.

The process has been shown to directly contribute to positive clinical outcomes, such as improved well-being and a feeling of inclusion.

Preview of Into the Light exhibition by patients at Northgate Hospital on show at Woodhorn Museum showing (left to right) Manager Arts Project Jane Akhurst-Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation, Director Keith Merrin and Public Programme Manager Liz Ritson with one of the exhibits.'REF 0603158411

Preview of Into the Light exhibition by patients at Northgate Hospital on show at Woodhorn Museum showing (left to right) Manager Arts Project Jane Akhurst-Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation, Director Keith Merrin and Public Programme Manager Liz Ritson with one of the exhibits.'REF 0603158411

The decision to feature an unattributed piece of work by each of the project’s professionals alongside that of patients aims to demonstrate the inclusivity of the scheme.

Arts Project Manager Jane Akhurst said: “Working with Woodhorn Museum and being successful in gaining an Arts Council grant has given our patients the opportunity to learn, develop skills and have experiences which they otherwise would not have had.

“It has been wonderful to see individuals develop artwork based on the resources provided by the museum and create some really ambitious and exceptional artwork.

“We are extremely proud of what has been created, and it has been a great experience working with the professional team at Woodhorn.”

It has been wonderful to see individuals develop artwork based on the resources provided by the museum and create some really ambitious and exceptional artwork.

Jane Akhurst, Arts Project Manager

The exhibition was supported by Northumberland County Council, and runs at the museum until June 14.

l Woodhorn Museum has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards.

It has beaten off competition from across the UK to make it into the top five of the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence in two categories.

The Stand Up For Woodhorn: Making a Case for Comedy in Museums project will vie against the likes of the Victoria and Albert Museum for Best Project on a Limited Budget, while Woodhorn’s Retronaut Victorian ‘selfies’ online exhibition is up against The Natural History Museum and Imperial War Museum, among others, for Marketing Campaign.