The Hackney Art Group is a regular informal art group that welcomes aspiring artists of all abilities! Our members meet every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month for two hours of free creation. All the materials are provided and the sessions are as much social occasions as opportunities to produce artworks. The group is led by our volunteer and member Philippa.

We asked Philippa and some of our members who participate in the group to tell us a bit more about their experience:

" The longstanding Hackney Art Group provides space and time for Opening Doors' members to experiment and use the materials and advice that are available. There are fluctuating numbers of attendees, but all help to provide the friendly and chatty atmosphere. Snacks and refreshments are available and it is fully accessible! " Philippa 

"I have been a few times and found it to be very friendly, helpful and have some very congenial conversations. I have to travel quite a long way but find it is worth it as they provide all the equipment brushes paint etc. I find it a very relaxing and tranquil environment as every time I have been I am learning something new. As I am living alone it’s a nice way to catch up with old friends especially Philippa who makes you feel very welcome and always look forward to meeting up again." Jim

"I enjoy The Hackney Art group particularly because of the companionship, where I can me. I love the light hearted banter and we play 'our choice ', of music. I live alone, so all of this means a lot to me. Its such a relaxing environment where I can be myself. I think that Art, is something which you should Never TRY to be good at, but instead, just be 'arty', in any way you like. When in this atmosphere, its easier for me to be more creative, (the creativity flows more easily). There's no expectations to produce a masterpieces, just feel free to enjoy the simple things. I like to think of little quotes such as: "Painting, its another word for FEELING " (by Constable), or An Artist is not a Special kind of person. Every person is a Special kind of artist. 

Also "it takes your mind off your mind', or, something like: "its through the cracks that the sunlight shines in, & indeed, its through the cracks that the inspiration shines out", etcetera." Francis 

"When Opening Doors was first inaugurated the members were asked what groups they would like to attend. Many opted for an art group which has been ongoing up to date. It has run in several venues and finally came to rest in Hackney, in a accommodation for older people. We have a  comfortable lounge and kitchen and enjoy working and chatting with tea and biscuits. There have been a few volunteers the longest term and current one is Philippa. Opening Doors provides a variety of materials and the group is open to all members whether they are great artists or wanting to have a go at a new hobby.

It is a very friendly group of people who are always welcoming to new people. I would probably given up art work if this group didn't exist as I find inspiration being with other people and find it difficult working in my small cluttered flat. Thank you to Opening Doors. for support for many years.

The two pastels drawings I have included are in memory of Alan, a long term member of the group

Alan was Welsh, a quiet man who led an exciting life. He was an active member of ODL and started with the art group at the same time as me. He loved to travel, always on coaches all over England and Europe. 

Several times he came with me to France, him in his tent and me in my camper van. This picture is when we went to Vouvray in the Loire and we just chilled out for a week eating in the local village and visiting Amboise. Unfortunately he died about 3 years ago but I have fond memories of him and I sure other members have as well.

Alan loved hats and had a vast collection. One day he brought some of them to the art group and this is my picture of them." Rowena 

Find more information about the Hackney Art Group here