A pioneering scheme at Gloucestershire’s Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is raising awareness of what it’s like to live with Huntington’s Disease.
The project has seen Steve Hart, who has Huntington’s Disease, appointed as Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court’s artist in residence.
It follows Steve’s positive experience with creative arts as part of his day hospice treatment programme in 2018, and his wish to help others to build on this experience.
Working alongside other patients in the art room, Steve has been demonstrating how to live positively with an illness, and how to find new ways of working. “I find the art relaxing; something to look forward to each week, and I also enjoy the company” he explains.
Experimenting with different techniques including marbling, mark making with sgraffito and acrylic paints, monoprinting, and experimental mark making with inks using twigs, Steve has even created artwork using tea stains from his mug of tea – fitting as his creative sessions are fuelled by tea with three sugars. “It’s really good to be to trying new things” he says.
The scheme has seen the hospice forge links with a local school where Steve is visiting the art department to demonstrate his monoprinting techniques to pupils, helping raise awareness among young people of what it is like to live with a life-limiting condition such as Huntingdon’s Disease.
“Steve is an example of somebody who is always game for trying new things and demonstrates how to live positively in the face of the challenges of an illness such as Huntington’s” says Emily Bainbridge, creative arts coordinator at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
In his working life, Steve was an Architectural Technician working with Gloucester-based architectural practice Astam, where he worked on a project at Gloucester Cathedral.
The experience inspired Steve to explore the building’s stained glass details, masons’ marks and sweeping architectural structures as part of his residency, with staff at Gloucester Cathedral giving Steve access to the cathedral’s archives, including maps and illuminated manuscripts, to inspire his work.
“It is brilliant to involve young people in this project” Emily adds. “The pupils are familiar with the Cathedral as part of their everyday experience and we hope it will be interesting for them to see some of the work that Steve has produced inspired by the architecture, and to meet Steve in person and see first hand the positive impact that creativity can have”.
The artwork created by Steve as part of his Artist in Residence goes on display at the Art and Wellbeing Exhibition at Gloucester Cathedral between Saturday June 29 and Sunday July 4.
For more information visit Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court