Magic Carpet is an Exeter based charity that runs a wide range of creative workshops to inspire growth, well-being and awareness through the power of creativity for people challenged by health or social circumstances. Through the creative arts they aim to nurture wellbeing by encouraging emotional and social development whilst promoting resilience, confidence and self-esteem.
Rob Wynne has been the CEO of Magic Carpet for the last 16 years, during which time he has overseen a large growth in the organisation’s services. He has a degree in Fine Art from Cheltenham and an Open University Postgraduate Certificate in Managing Voluntary Organisations. He makes art and dabbles in music in his spare time. In this blog post, Rob talks about Magic Carpet, and how the organisation facilitates creativity amongst its participants.
“Why is Magic Carpet named Magic Carpet? Because it aims to take people to places they don’t ordinarily go to.
Art is important – you are reading this blog, so you absolutely know that. There are so many levels why, as a receiver or viewer, art moves us; it takes us to places we aspire to go to, shifts our understanding and much, much more. But what do we know of the artist? There are tomes and tomes written about Van Gogh, Louise Bourgeois and thousands of famous artists. We are familiar with their struggle. We can type in their name into a search engine and uncover their demons, how they froze or starved or their daily tussle with alcohol.
Pop into any gallery in any town in the world and the art is there to see, but unless we know the artist or they have a statement we don’t know what’s behind the piece. One of the very wonderful benefits for people and society that comes from organisations like Magic Carpet is that we know people. We understand how hard it is to make art and equally we understand and are in awe of the many benefits it can bring.
Many of our participants have made momentous and challenging personal journeys before stepping though the door of the art studio to create their artwork. They have made a brave decision, that despite their many life knocks they want to make, create and share that experience with others. For many of our participants art gives them a voice, empowers them, creates meaningful friendships and helps personal wellbeing. Magic Carpet fosters a safe space where our participants can accept who they are, grow their self-esteem and challenge themselves to create art and feel better about themselves.
There is a term that has been developed by psychologist Eric Berne that describes the kind of relationships we have with our fellow human beings. ‘Strokes’ describe the contact we all have with everyone we meet. We all need strokes – physical and mental – to help us thrive and develop as people and in some instances, to create art. Berne’s term ‘strokes’ describe what Magic Carpets to do with the people we work with – our participants and volunteers. We ‘touch’ people, and because of that ‘stroke’ they make art.
Magic Carpet has ten weekly groups, and from these groups we aim to introduce our participants to the wider community. As part of this, I will be visiting each group to support the participants to create their own gallery on the Outside In website. We hope that many more of the participants from our Exeter and East Devon groups will want to have their work on the website. This is a great opportunity for our artists to show and catalogue their work, and for a wider public to find out much more about what makes us create art.”