THE residents of a Salvation Army Lifehouse for people experiencing homelessness are to have their artwork displayed in a long-term exhibition at the Warrington Museum and Gallery (WMAG).
The featured artists, who all currently live at James Lee House Lifehouse, Warrington, have produced their art over a number of months during weekly art-therapy sessions with local artist, Debbie Lyons.
Sixteen pieces in total have been selected for the exhibition, which will take place from February 11 — among them mosaics, collages and oil paintings — to showcase the talent and creativity of the lifehouse residents who have all faced the challenges of homelessness before arriving at James Lee House.
The workswill be displayed and on sale in the foyer and other public areas within the WMAG. The museum and gallery has also pledged to donate the proceeds from any items sold back to The Salvation Army.
Matthew Davenport, service manager of James Lee House said: “Debbie started running her sessions here back in April last year and ever since then it’s just gone from strength to strength. Every week it’s a full class and you can tell the guys get so much from them.
“I’ve been so surprised at the standard of the art they’re producing but to have the WMAG agree to show the work is really something. I’m so pleased for everyone and I hope this inspires them to do even better things when they leave here.”
Debbie Lyon, local artist and art session co-ordinator at James Lee House said: “It’s been such a pleasure working with this group of artists. They are just so enthusiastic and always bring lots of energy to the sessions, which I really like. They’ve done some amazing work using lots of different techniques so the exhibition will be quite varied. I think there’s something for everyone so I hope as many people as possible come along to the WMAG to see for themselves.”
Other works from James Lee House residents are also on show at the Lymm Hotel, Whitbarrow Road, Warrington. A further exhibition at Golden Square Shopping Centre is also imminent.
Art sessions at James Lee House have been generously funded by the Warrington Round Table. A sponsored 14km swim in the River Thames by lifehouse manager, Matthew Davenport raised a further £800 for the sessions.
James Lee House provides 54 beds for men and women over the age of 18 experiencing homelessness in and around Warrington. Run by The Salvation Army, James Lee House celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2018.
Salvation Army lifehouses are more than a place to stay, they are a reason to get up in the morning. Our homelessness services are person centred. We see the individual and not the label of ‘homeless’ which is often placed upon vulnerable people.
The programme of activities developed by Matt Davenport and his team at James Lee House are aimed at empowering the residents to see their strengths, develop the belief and strive to release their potential in everything they choose to take part in.