Manchester’s first Mindful Art Centre is launching in Levenshulme Old Library on 27 April, 4pm-9pm. Local social enterprise The Owl and The Coconut are behind the centre, which opens with a community crowd-sourced exhibition and offers of free places on their Mindfulness and Mindful Art courses.
The ‘Levy Life’ exhibition, a partnership between Levenshulme Old Library, community radio station All FM and The Owl and The Coconut, will showcase residents’ photographs, artwork and memories about life in Levenshulme. It will also be an opportunity for the local community to see their new Mindful Art Centre, also known as ‘The Nest,’ and find out more about the mindful art activities that will be hosted there this year.
The Owl and The Coconut are a group of artists, mental health practitioners and community workers. Their work is centred around the practice of mindfulness, which they describe as “the ability to be present in the here and now’’, and a “catalyst, creating empowered, mindful, creative, compassionate people and communities”. The company’s mission is for everyone to be able to access Mindful Art tools “for wholehearted living and world change.”
Their founder and director, Gemma Bowden, is a local resident of Levenshulme and has been involved in the transfer of Levenshulme Old Library to community ownership with other local groups and individuals. Gemma works alongside The Owl and The Coconut directors Pam Allen and Karen Welsh, supported by a team of local freelance artists and volunteers.
“We are delighted to be moving into the beautiful 1900s building of Levenshulme Old Library,” said Gemma. “This will allow us to continue working with people who might not traditionally access mental health services, planting seeds about the importance of looking after our mental wellbeing, directly with the community.”
The Owl and The Coconut will be offering free places to local residents on their 8-week Mindfulness and Mindful Art courses, worth £280, made possible by Big Lottery Awards For All funding. They are also building a timetable of mindful drop-in sessions from baby mindfulness to mindful gardening, hoping to get as many local residents involved as possible.
Alice Toomer – McAlpine
Further details on the Levy Life exhibition can be found here.
Feature Image: @forbesoste