Good Causes

All you need is paint: how Beatles fuel Gemma’s art

Gemma likes to paint to the sound of Abba, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Moving in time with the music and wielding her paintbrushes like drum sticks, the 37-year-old artist communicates with paint in a way she is unable to do with words.

Toni Adams, her support worker, said, “Gemma isn’t completely non-verbal, but her speech is extremely limited and repetitive. Music, dancing and art are her things – she interacts with people really well and loves picking out the colours.”

You can see an example of Gemma’s art on our new National Lottery ad that will be displayed on billboards, bus shelters and online. Shining a light on the £30Million raised for good causes each week by National Lottery players, the ad showcases the colourful complexity of her work.

The choice of Gemma’s art for the ad is appropriate because the organisation that has helped her blossom as an artist – Hastings-based Project Art Works – has itself been supported by National Lottery funding.

Georgie Scott, an artist facilitator at Project Art Works, has been working with Gemma for 3 years. She often holds Gemma’s hand while she’s painting or working with clay, making sure the artist has a ready supply of materials.

Georgie said, “She moves around – she’s not a lady who sits still. She’s like a spring a lot of the time, almost bouncing, but it’s a rhythmic movement.

“Gemma is really in tune to sound and she explores spaces by smelling, touching and hearing them. She uses the paintbrushes almost like drum sticks at times.”

Tim Corrigan, Creative Director at Project Art Works, said the decision to use Gemma’s art on the National Lottery billboard ad was exciting because it underlined the organisation’s determination to showcase the talents of its roster of “neurodiverse artists and makers” to the widest audience possible.

Tim said, “We want to reposition them [the artists] within the eyes of society by showing what they can do. By aspiring to excellence within mainstream contemporary art we allow people to stop looking at Gemma’s disability and start seeing the amazing things she can do.

“For someone like Gemma for whom life can be difficult we offer a distraction and a way to engage in a really meaningful way with people and art materials. It’s a chance to be free in the moment.”

By playing The National Lottery you raise £30Million for good causes every week.

28th September 2020

For 25 years The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK. Since November 19th 1994 there have been more than 5,700 new millionaires created and over £41 billion has been given to good causes across the UK.

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