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New Mural Unveiled at The Willows – Children Young People & Family Centre in Dumfries

2 April 2024

A new mural has been unveiled at The Willows Children Young People & Family Centre based on the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.

The artwork was officially unveiled as part of a special event on Thursday 21 March 2024

The project has been coordinated by DG Creative Wellbeing, a ground-breaking project in Dumfries and Galloway delivered by regional arts organisation OutPost Arts that enhances people’s wellbeing, communities, and healthcare environments through artistic and cultural opportunities, events, and activities.

The DG Creative Wellbeing project’s Community Creative Wellbeing and Art in Healthcare teams worked in partnership with NHS staff based within the Willows, to facilitate the public art installation that will be on permanent display in the foyer of the building.

Lead artist Katie Anderson (recipient of the Visual Artist/Maker of the Year award at the Dumfries & Galloway Life Awards 2024) was commissioned by OutPost Arts to co-design the installation by engaging and collaborating with participants of a DG Creative Wellbeing project – Art Journal Project.

To ensure that the mural improves the environment for staff, service-users and visitors, CAMHS Participation Lead Alison Telfer liaised with Katie and consulted with Willows staff and children and young people who access health related services – feeding their ideas and reflections into the final design.

Art Journal Project participants and CAMHS service users also took part in a series of workshops from December 2023 with outcomes directly informing the mural’s themes, messaging and visuals.

Lucy Bell, DG Creative Wellbeing Creative Health & Wellbeing Director said:

“The mural project has been a real journey of teamwork and creativity. Through a series of workshops, every participant brought their own special touch, adding layers of uniqueness to our collective vision. Working together, we crafted a design that combines everyone’s contributions into a beautiful and impactful piece of art. It’s something truly special that brings life to The Willows and reflects the magic of our collaboration. It really is what creative wellbeing is all about.”

Katie Anderson, DG Creative Wellbeing Associate Artist, and Project Lead said:

“The mural project was designed and developed to empower service users to give them a sense of ‘ownership’ and encourage all those who took part to increase their own personal ambitions and creative practices by thinking big and bold. We hope the mural provides something special to the space and proves to be a real talking point for staff, service users and visitors.“

Valerie White, Director of Public Health, NHS Dumfries and Galloway said:

“There is evidence of the impact the arts can have on improving health and wellbeing. This project is a practical demonstration of how this can be achieved. The mural that has been unveiled today not only enhances the setting at the Willows, making for a more uplifting and less clinical environment for those attending appointments it also has a powerful development story of collaboration between service users, staff and the community which has led to enhanced connections, increased self confidence, skills development and social opportunities. It is really important that we recognise the value of the arts in keeping us well.”

Kayla Milligan (aged 16) who took part in the project said:

“For me I never really did anything within a community setting due to my social anxiety. Speaking to new people is quite scary, but this has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to speak with cool and interesting people that I would have never had the chance to meet without being a part of this mural project.

This opportunity was presented to me, because art is something I am passionate about, and it gave me the chance to meet new like-minded people and allowed me to learn more skills which will help me in the future. I feel like I have grown in confidence and more doors have opened for me by getting involved with the mural project.

The mural really brightens up the area and makes this feel really welcoming as it can be quite daunting the first time you come into the building so, I personally think this is a great addition.”

The project has been funded by Dumfries & Galloway Health Board Endowment Fund, The Robertson Trust, The Holywood Trust and Communities Mental Health & Wellbeing Fund.

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