Between bursts of laughter and sips of tea, volunteer Mary and her husband David radiate positive energy as they reminisce on their years spent at The Lightbox.

Couple Mary and David began coming to Art in Mind sessions at The Lightbox in 2016 as a means to enjoy some quiet time creating artwork together. Little did they know that they’d be joined by so many with so much in common, as their monthly art session quickly catapulted into catch-ups with new friends.

With a background in pantomime, David excels in extravagant, enjoying painting with watercolours to create vibrant, lively drawings. Previously likened to the work of famous artist David Hockney, David’s paintings are proudly displayed in frames at home. The couple’s children always admire their parents’ artworks on their frequent visits and love catching up with what the pair have been up to at The Lightbox.

Fondly recalling one particular session where they had used clay and wool to create a lady with ringlets in her hair, the pair chuckled as they remembered what had happened on their drive home:

“The clay hadn’t dried, so the hair kept falling out and by the time we got home – she was bald!”

This set them off on a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about David’s pantomime days. “David used to do the matinée performance on a Saturday afternoon. We wouldn’t have time to change, but always managed to nip home for a cup of tea. We’d always laugh at the prospect of getting stopped and David getting out of the car in full make-up and nail varnish.”

“Art, singing, dancing – it’s good for you,” beams Mary. “People need art – more and more now, especially in this day and age when everything is machine-orientated. You need to get away from that and have a conversation and do something real – something physical. Drawing is really good, and David feels the same too.”

The Lightbox has always believed that art has the power to make you feel good and by focusing on creative expression, participants are encouraged to discuss their work and have conversations. As Mary points out with a smile, “interesting…” seems to be the go-to response for their group when no one is quite sure what to make of an artwork.

“Believe it or not, people suffer with dementia – but we have a laugh. We’ll keep coming to Art in Mind for as long as we can.”

Your Membership, ticket purchases and donations help to fund our Art and Wellbeing programme, which includes Art in Mind, so people like David can continue to create, keep everyone entertained and play an active part in society.