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Open Your Art: artists from the Studio Upstairs mental health charity display their work at South Croydon station
Open Your Art: artists from the Studio Upstairs mental health charity display their work at South Croydon station

Press release -

Studio Upstairs invites rail passengers to ‘Open Your Art’ at South Croydon station

Arts and mental health charity Studio Upstairs has issued the following press release about the artworks its members have created for South Croydon station:

Southern and Thameslink passengers returning to South Croydon station will be inspired and uplifted by twenty-three new artworks in waiting rooms and along platforms, subway and stairways.

As part of its network-wide station improvement programme, the train operators invited the arts and mental health charity, Studio Upstairs, to help improve the look and feel of South Croydon.

At this time of challenge and vulnerability for many people, the train companies commissioned the charity to bring together and display a collection of artworks on a theme of mental wellbeing.

A diverse group of artists, all members of Studio Upstairs, responded to a call for works that would comfort, inspire, and connect with people passing through the busy suburban station. The common aim of the station’s art trail they have created – ‘Open Your Art’ – is to highlight and encourage the personal and community support everyone can provide to help tackle mental health issues.

This weekend, to mark International Mental Health Day on 10 October, the artists gathered with station staff to celebrate completion of the heart-warming art trail.

Within their shared theme, the diverse individual images include striking large-scale posters, intimate and reflective pieces, art with a tongue-in-cheek message, glimpses of icons Nigella Lawson and Usain Bolt, plus a cosmos of colourful bubble-shaped stickers.

The collection also includes a moving piece based on the lyrics of American singer-songwriter, Mary Gauthier. ‘Mercy Now’ has original lettering cut from a sheet of steel that will rust to a beautiful deep orange over time. Gauthier was delighted to give the artist personal permission for her lyrics to be used for this site-specific exhibition.

Studio Upstairs Studio Manager, Genevieve Collier said:

“All artists look forward to showing their work, and this exhibition has been a fantastic opportunity for our members to engage with the public in such a specific location.

Many of the artworks are a thoughtful, creative, or humorous response to what it feels like to use public transport when you are feeling isolated, depressed or anxious.

The artists wanted to reach out and connect with fellow passengers and have been really creative with images and text”.

Salespoint Assistant Whitney Desporte was one of the South Croydon station staff members who worked with Studio Upstairs to come up with the design themes for the artwork. Whitney said:

“It’s been a real privilege and pleasure to work with Studio Upstairs. Their artists are hugely talented and have made such a difference to the station for our customers and colleagues. Now, more than ever, we all need to be good neighbours, to stay connected, and offer a helping hand. For those who need it most – passengers and railway colleagues – this powerful artwork is to show that we’re with them.”

Train companies Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern have commissioned over 200 works of art by local people to make stations more attractive and better connected with the lives of the communities they serve.

Notes to editors

About Studio Upstairs

Studio Upstairs is an arts and mental health charity with branches in Croydon, Hackney and Bristol. We provide creative community art studios and positive, life-changing interventions for people with mental health difficulties or emotional distress. To read more: www.studioupstairs.org.uk

Studio Upstairs is incredibly grateful for the contributions and support of:

Southern Railway

Print Foundry Lab

Lion Picture Framing Supplies Ltd

Kit Oates

Mary Gauthier

Snapped Arts CIC

Keane Construction

About Print Foundry Lab

Print Foundry Lab supported the project by donating their printing and framing services, and their time to install the artworks. Print Foundry Lab is a Fine Art Production House designing and creating beautiful products that enhance a space. Based in both London and Portugal, Print Foundry Lab is defined by both the quality of our products and calibre of our clients. Our small team of craftspeople work with professional photographers, artists, designers, galleries and interior specialists to create timeless artworks. For more information see www.printfoundrylab.com

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For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria (currently suspended during the pandemic)

www.southernrailway.comwww.thameslinkrailway.comwww.gatwickexpress.comwww.greatnorthernrail.com

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