Mental Health Awareness week at Culver Square

Willow Sculpture

Our eye-catching willow sculpture installed in the middle of Culver Square was designed with nature in mind. The structure takes the shape of two trees filled with beautiful butterflies, birds and insects, plus fairy lights to make it extra magical in the evenings.

Well known for being able to survive in very challenging conditions the willow sculpture gives us hope for a better future as we emerge from the restraints of covid lockdown. The intertwining branches envelope and cradle the tiny creatures within reminding us how important mother nature has been to our own wellbeing.

Commissioned as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year has the theme of Nature, the sculpture will continue to grow and support our campaign until October.

We wanted to create a focal point in the centre that visitors to Culver Square can take time out to enjoy.   We have used natural resources to create a piece of art that represents the awakening of the town and symbolises the brighter future ahead.

The aim for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10th – 16th May is to explore the natural world and experience the mental health benefits it offers.

We hope that everyone is able to enjoy our willow sculpture and that it gets people talking about Mental Health Awareness Week.

The willow sculpture will remain in situ until 10th October 2021, which is World Mental Health Awareness Day, as a legacy to continually raise awareness.

About the artist

Ema Parkins is the artist commissioned to create the sustainable willow sculpture.

Emma Parkins has been a freelance artist since 1997, firstly as a commercial illustrator and then working as a community visual artist for over 10yrs. The environment is an important factor in her work and she tries to source all her materials as sustainably as possible.

The art of Willow weaving and Sculpture is Emma’s specialism. It fits in well with her ethos and she finds it very therapeutic and grounding to work with. She draws on her years of experience as an illustrator to inspire her sculptures, creating willow animals and creatures that have character and charm, making her style unique.

Emma commission Heather Allen from Eco arts willow craft to assist with the butterflies.

Wild at Art Pop Up Gallery

Our Wild at Art pop up gallery is a showcase of art created by the Colchester community.  We set them a challenge to express themselves by combining art and nature.  This amazing collection has been brought together to inspire us all to explore our hidden creative talents.

Why Wild at Art?

Nature has been one of the main ways we have supported our mental health during the pandemic as it has acted as a form of escapism.

Creative activities have a positive impact on your mental health as they are a fantastic way to express emotions and feelings.

Nature is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Therefore we challenged the local community to combine nature and art to express themselves.

The evidence is clear that access to nature is crucial for our mental health and millions of people re-discovered that during lockdowns this year. However, this was not the same for all of us.

The aim of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is to explore what the barriers are and ensure everyone is able to share in the natural world and experience the mental health benefits.

The week will be an opportunity to open our eyes to the power of nature. Find out more here.