Art for the Heart

Image Description: A number of crayons in many different colours, greens, blues, pinks, yellows and browns, against a black background. The crayons are composed of different textures, swirls, spots, zig-zags and squares.

Are you interested in exploring ideas around mental health? Would you benefit from a safe space for emotional and creative outlet? Do you like glitter? Then come to the OSDC’s “Art for the Heart”!

Art for the Heart is the colourful, imaginative, creative OSDC mental health art support group! The group uses the visual arts to explore themes around mental health.

We offer a large range of lovely materials including paints, pencils, glitter, sequins and feathers! We use them to explore themes around mental health and emotional wellbeing. We’ll use the time to work through a mini art project together, exploring a different theme each session.

This group is open to any Oxford student; those who identify as living with a mental health condition and those who do not; art fanatics and those who haven’t picked up a pencil or paintbrush before. You do not have to be ‘good at’ or ‘experienced at’ art to take part! The focus is not on the end product but on the creative process and the thoughts, ideas and feelings we conjure up.


Date: Tuesday 19th January 2016
Location: OUSU Offices, 2 Worcester Street, Oxford, OX1 2BX
Time: 17:00–18:30

We will be playing and experimenting with air dry clay while exploring themes around mud, dirt and earth; how we can use the most basic and most natural elements to create beautiful things. We will also be relating these themes to our own mental health, thinking about our relationship with difficult or ‘ugly’ experiences and how they may affect our futures for both good and bad.


  • MASKS AND IDENTITY – Date: 28th April 2015

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” – Frida Kahlo

  • NAMES AND LABELS – 12th May 2015 (Mental Health Awareness Week Special)

“Creativity *is* mistakes” – Grayson Perry

From our birth other people choose names and labels for us, and when we are wrongly described with a stamp that is not our own, we can lose confidence in who we are. We will explore together the extent to which labels shape our identity and map out our future.

  • JOURNEYS – 26th May 2015

“Remember, the work of art lives in the experience, the journey within the process, not in the resulting monument to be presented in a certified art-place” – Eric Booth

We will be making maps and exploring the idea of journeys; the journey to recovery, our journey through our time at Oxford, or journeys we aspire to make in the future.

  • SIGHT AND VISION  9th June 2015

“Art is a lie that makes us realise truth” – Pablo Picasso.

We will be looking at self-image and self-esteem through the lens of seeing and vision. While in many respects we are the experts of our own experience, sometimes unhelpful thinking patterns can blur our vision of ourselves and distort reality. We will explore these themes through the imagery of eyes, lenses and mirrors.

  • POSTCARDS AND MESSAGES 13th October 2015

“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are a bourbon biscuit.” – Frida Kahlo

During the session we will be decorating postcards, and writing messages on the other side to someone we miss, someone we are frustrated with, or someone with whom we want to share something. You can even write a message to your future self! You can either share your artwork at the end with the rest of the group, or keep it totally personal.

  • COATS OF ARMS AND CRESTS  27th October 2015

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

Together we will be designing and decorating coats of arms. These can be dedicated to your family or to other communities that are special to you. We will think about what symbols illustrate the character and values of these people or these groups.

  • MANDALAS  10th November 2015

OUSU Offices, 2 Worcester Street, Oxford, OX1 2BX.


Time: 17:00 – 18:30.

“The flower’s perfume has no form, but it pervades space. Likewise, through a spiral of mandalas formless reality is known.”
– Saraha

Mandalas are used in Hinduism, Buddhism and many other eastern spiritual traditions as tools to aid meditation, establish a sacred space or induce trance-like states. They are circular patterns which can represent both the universe and the Self. Together we can design and decorate our own mandalas, choosing to work individually or in groups.

  • WHERE DO WE FEEL?  23rd November 2015

Location: OUSU Offices, 2 Worcester Street, Oxford, OX1 2BX

Description: We will be exploring where in the body we feel different emotions. Does joy, anger, excitement, or shame live in a particular place in your body? Do you associate these emotions with particular body parts or sensations? By thinking about the physical symptoms we associate with different feelings, we will be colouring and decorating outlines of the body to represent the relationship between the physical and the psychological.

Written and Edited by Shannon Guild, Oliver Lennon and Jessie See


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