Health and Wellbeing

Sculpting Thoughts workshopSculpting Thoughts workshopmembers of Wai Yin mental health group sketching in gallery Wellbeing

We work with artists to create a space where people using our exhibitions and collections can explore and learn about art, themselves and the world around them. We do this by playing with materials, concepts and processes. Working with partner organisations in the health sector we champion curiosity, creative thinking, risk taking, flexibility and self-knowledge in an environment that is stimulating, supportive, calm and thoughtful. Our artists and participants share the learning process, finding out things together.

  • Make our collections and exhibitions accessible to all
  • Learn together
  • Connect with our communities
  • Create conditions for curiosity, relaxation and social interaction
  • Build self-esteem, confidence and resilience
  • Encourage exploration, self expression, imagination, risk taking and independent thought
  • Challenge stigma and stereotypes
  • Are outward looking and open-minded
  • Are flexible and responsive to the needs of our audience
  • Help people find inspiration through art

We work in partnership with community organisations to encourage people to use the gallery and its collections to improve and enhance their health and wellbeing. We work with a range of groups including young people and adults accessing mental health services, looked after children, older people, and young families. Together, we explore the role of art and creativity in improving, maintaining and understanding our health and well-being.

'I come here (the gallery) and I don't think about anything else.'
Sculpting Thoughts participant

'Thank you for giving me the opportunity to relax.'
Therapeutic Thursday participant

'Today I learnt how to get people to engage with artworks through very simple open ended questions and how to get them to open up about issues in their own lives.'
Jenny, Health Trainer CPD workshop for Healthcare professionals

'I learnt how to take time to look and how to focus properly. I feel so calm..'
Take notice

'Learning to not think in all or nothing terms in the artist's studio has helped me not to do it in my day to day life too.
Art of Mindfulness

This work began as part of Who Cares? a programme of pilot projects in the North West, researching how museums and galleries can be used to enhance heath and well-being. Since then we have continued our research and development to deliver an ever-growing programme of projects and public workshops which encourage more people to see the gallery as a place that could help them feel good. A space, in which they can learn, connect, take notice, be active and give.

If you’d like to find out more about the Health and Wellbeing work at Manchester Art Gallery, contact Louise Thompson, Health and wellbeing Manager:

Tel: 0161 235 8844

Take notice: de-stress with art

Hiroshige, Utagawa, Shirasuka
Feeling stressed? These 30 minute lunch time, de-stress sessions explore our most interesting and beautiful artworks using Mindfulness techniques. Come into the art gallery away from the stresses of modern life and experience for yourself how art can help us cope with stress. First Tuesday of the month, 12:15 and 1pm. Free, no need to book.

Open House

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Bower Meadow.
Open House sessions are for mental health community groups or workers on a first time visit to the gallery. Join our Health and wellbeing Manager for a 90 minute workshop that includes: a friendly welcome and introduction to the gallery, a short creative activity and an opportunity to explore the relationship between art and our health and wellbeing. To book email Louise Thompson.

Take notice LATE : de-stress with art

An Organ Grinder (detail) by LS Lowry, 1934
It seems you can't get enough of art and mindfulness. We don't blame you! Due to the popularity of our lunchtime sessions, there is an additional Take Notice session in the early evening. Now you can practise mindfulness with art in the beautiful and serene setting of the art gallery at the end of the working day. Come along and take notice with art
Everyone welcome
Take Notice (after hours) happens every third Thursday of the month. 5:15 & 6pm