2 October 2014

Art installation lives on in older residents’ homes

Hundreds of weighing scales that featured in an art installation at Brighton’s Fabrica Art Gallery have been given to 200 sheltered housing tenants as part of a novel project to boost creative activity and tackle isolation.

The original artwork used 714 scales for a colourful and fun interactive exhibition at the gallery this summer called ‘On Balance’ by Swedish artist Jakob Dahlgren.

The gallery was commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council to work across five sheltered housing schemes to boost engagement as part of wide ranging project.

Distributed with each set of scales was a leaflet from the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership with simple recipes using fresh food and information about healthy eating. Sheltered Scheme Managers have been trained by the Food Partnership to promote their ‘Shape Up’ programme which is open to anyone who is struggling with their weight.

The Shape Up course runs for ten weeks and combines nutrition and behavior change advice with gentle exercise for gradual weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.

Brighton & Hove City Council Older People’s Services Manager Peter Huntbach said: 

“It’s sad to see how isolated some residents can become, especially those without close family or friends. We need to draw them out and re-engage them, which is why we have commissioned the Fabrica Art Gallery to run a series of art projects with five of our sheltered schemes with local artist, Helen Goodwin and a team of volunteers from Fabrica.

“This project has not only re-engaged residents with their creative side, it has to also helped them to take a new look at life through the food they eat, and to get out in the fresh air for some gentle exercise be it for a walk or even a spell at the allotment. It all works together for a better life.”

Clare Hankinson, Audience Development Manager, said “I am delighted that we have been commissioned – we will work through collaboration and conversation – this project is all about getting people together, and creating a permanent work of art which can be displayed in their scheme as something to be proud of and to inspire others.”

Residents were introduced to Fabrica in a most unusual way – with gifts of the brightly coloured flat weighing scales.