So picture a typical Key4Life afternoon at Arts Lab: stroll through the grounds of the Dartington estate to the studio, floor partly covered with expanse of paper, paint pots and household brushes. The room’s huge but warm and welcoming with everything you need to draw, paint, make a mess, make music or even make a film. The GoPro camera is rolling and the DJ rap artist playing energising tunes. We’re all set. Enter twenty 18-25 year olds. The space suddenly makes sense. They have two hours to chill and be themselves, pick up a paint brush or a mike, write lyrics or draw a dragon, perform rap or walk barefoot across the painting. Most get involved – “fantastic success!” says the CEO of Key4Life, Eva Hamilton – “a significant contribution to our rehabilitation programme”. …. And these guys have had it tough – in care most of their lives, in and out of substance abuse and prison. Last time they came on the train up from London, this week from Somerset; 20 more from Wormwood Scrubs next month.
“Thank you for hosting, organising and inspiring the most fantastic session in your studio”, wrote Eva – “everyone loved it, including all of us!”