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Celebrating St Andrew's many artists

Patients, staff and carers from across St Andrew's in Northampton gathered last week to congratulate each other and be entertained by some outstanding musical performances and an exhibition of work.

Initiated by Occupational Therapy in 2010, our annual Arts Awards celebrate the creative achievements of people in our care. Some of the notable works on display were O’Connell ward’s homage to Van Gogh, The Starry Night, an animation ‘Don’t Change’ that has taken over five years to complete, and a board game built from scratch called ‘Eruption!’ from the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Practice Unit.

The event is also a focus for the distribution of Koestler Award certificates, with additional recognition given by the Arts Team for individual and group achievements.  Every year Koestler Arts receives over 8000 entries across 52 categories of Fine Art, Craft and Design, Performance and Audio, Film and Animation and Writing. Entries are judged by over 100 experts from different fields,

Once again this year one individual's work was chosen to be exhibited in Koestler’s annual exhibition at the Southbank Centre and patients from across the charity submitted over 90 entries as a whole. Alongside certificates given for entry to the awards our patients achieved the following:

  • 4 Commended
  • 8 Highly commended
  • 1 First time entrant award
  • 1 Bronze, with £20 Cheque
  • 2 Silver, with £40 Cheque
  • 1 Gold, with £60 Cheque
  • 2 Platinum. with £100 Cheque 

Arts Coordinator Dave Saunders said:

“After nine years of being involved in this ceremony I continue to be amazed not only by our patients' output but by the creative journeys behind these works.

 "Each of these awards is emblematic of weeks, months, sometimes years of effort by the various individuals involved. The creative process and benefits derived from this is hard to convey unless experienced and the Arts team as a whole find it an honour to share in these journeys. Our patients' rewards are richly deserved.”

Our Birmingham hospital achieved record submissions for Koestler entries this year, with wonderful feedback and awards from the Koestler judges.

Teacher Andrew Kane said:

"The quality of submissions for poetry / song lyrics, creative writing, blogs, photography and fine art have been truly excellent, as reflected in the platinum, gold and commendation awards that the Koestler judges have awarded. The accolades received for poetry and literature has been truly wonderful. 

"Poetry and songwriting is therapeutic to our patients and the lived experiences and themes of mental health resonate with patients who relate to the powerful words. The poems and songs have been shared through our patient newsletter, poetry reading and live music performances. Many patients are looking at developing their words through academic routes such as Koestler, Creative Writing with the Open University and song writing and recording in the music studio. Well done to all our patients who submitted and received the wonderful recognition from Koestler."