Why art matters 60 Years, 60 Voices ‘In uncertain times, art provides a powerful antidote’ Lucy Day is Founder, Director and Curator of A Woman’s Place Project. Here Lucy tells us about the role of art in both her professional and personal lives… “ I co-founded A Woman’s Place Project with Eliza Gluckman in 2016 to be a catalyst and umbrella for cultural projects and advocacy, where equality provides the contextual backbone. We work with artists, heritage, education, environmental, cultural and community partners to nurture ambitious new projects, often interrogating historical perspectives. Predominantly championing the work of women artists through new commissions and exhibitions, we aim to develop a deeper understanding of our shared histories through art, towards a sustainable, equal society. Lindsay Seers, 2052 Selves (a biography), 2018 © Lindsay Seers / Keith Sargent Whilst we haven’t worked directly in healthcare yet, our recent projects have opened up many conversations about mental health and wellbeing through commissions and workshops. In 2018, as part of the National Trust’s Women and Power programme, six new commissions for A Woman’s Place at Knole (by Lubaina Himid, CJ Mahony, Emily Speed, Alice May Williams and Melanie Wilson with an online work 2052 Selves by Lindsay Seers) shone a light on historical inequities and the invisibility of women’s voices. Two works, in particular, considered the impact of gender and sexuality on the lives of Vita Sackville West and Virginia Woolf, with Seers looking also to the multiplicities of personality found in Woolf’s Orlando and elsewhere. Lubaina Himid, Collars and Cuffs, 2018, AWP Knole © National Trust / Ciaran McCrickard Alongside the commissioning programme, we worked with Quiet Down There and the artist Alinah Azadeh to realise a series of craftivist One Day workshops, which supported women to explore and build emotional strength and resilience, creativity and self-care. Our current Makers of Change regular monthly meet-ups continue this activism and we are currently developing new workshops for young women between the ages of 13 and 16, mindful of the alarming and growing rate of mental health referrals. CJ Mahony, Still Life, Still Waiting, 2018. Photo: Jonathan Bassett In these increasingly uncertain times, we believe that art provides a powerful antidote: a pause to reflect, think creatively, re-energise and imagine alternatives. The work of Paintings in Hospitals is exceptional in providing comfort and creative energy for those of us who have needed to access care in hospital, or any type of health and social care site. On a personal front, having art around me at these often-stressful times has provided a supportive focus. On a professional front, it’s always wonderful to be surrounded by art to remind me that I need to get back to work, well and healthy! ” Find out how Paintings in Hospitals brought an Artemisia Gentileschi masterpiece to a GP surgery… Follow #60Voices on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram... Lucy Day is an independent curator, lecturer, arts consultant and Founder Director Curator of A Woman’s Place Project CIC, a contemporary arts organisation which takes equality as its starting point, exploring it creatively through exhibitions, projects and events. Lucy has 30 years’ experience of fundraising and developing exhibitions in private, public and artist-led spaces. She worked at SPACE Studios for five years, leaving as a Director to develop the Day+Gluckman curating partnership in 2006, which subsequently developed into A Woman’s Place Project. She has recently been appointed to develop the future strategy for HOUSE, looking at its regional and national position with the visual arts. Alongside her curating career, Lucy continues to support artists and arts organisers through mentoring, workshops and organisational change. She is a lecturer, writer and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Alumnus of the Clore Leadership Programme (Clore50, 2017). Follow Lucy on Twitter (@lucydaycurator).