Halloween weekend was full of treats for young people in care across 25 residential homes, as they transformed their living spaces for the 10th year of Arts Care NI ‘Twilight Zone’. A mental health and well-being art project. Dr Jenny Elliot, CEO of Arts Care NI, discusses the necessity of ‘Twilight Zone’ inspiring beyond Covid-19.
“Very often they will come into care with their clothes and a black plastic bag. And very often they leave care with their clothes and a plastic bag. But very often the one thing they always want to take with them, and they take great care of, is the artwork they have created with Twilight Zone…They cherish that” – Jenny said.
In the wake of Covid-19, concerns were raised over whether ‘Twilight zone’ could go ahead for young people aged 12-18.Despite setbacks, Jenny was determined to deliver ‘the best Twilight zone yet’.
Jenny’s goal for ‘Twilight Zone’ was “focusing on the voice of the young person through Covid, and the voice of the young person as they look towards their future”.Jenny expressed,“It’s not an easy project to engage young people, whose lives are very fragmented and complex”.
In response to cancelled services, Jenny’s team of artists responded overnight to patients’ needs. Launching a YouTube channel and sending out Arts Care boxes.
Unable to provide in-person services, boxes were filled with art materials. For those without WIFI access, instruction DVD’s were also added. Hundreds of Arts Care boxes have since been sent out to patients all over Northern Ireland.
The Public Health Agency will be awarding five Art bursaries to five talented individuals. Jenny said, often they will share their bursaries, buying equipment such as cameras. Setting them up not only for life beyond ‘Twilight Zone’, but life beyond residential care.