Artfelt column: Discovering great art in the most unlikely places

Cat Powell
Cat Powell
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I’ve been interested in art all my life and, after I completed my degree in illustration, I started looking for ways I could use my passion to help others.

I worked in the child protection department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to help fund my masters in art psychotherapy and when I saw that there was a position in Artfelt, The Children’s Hospital Charity arts programme, it all fitted in perfectly.

Artfelt aims to make the clinical more comfortable, by transforming Sheffield Children’s Hospital into a bright and welcoming place for patients through art.

The best part of my job is the people I work with on a day-to-day basis – and the real pride that they take in what they do. I love challenging the pre-disposed ideas people often have about hospitals and seeing the surprise on their faces when they walk into a space full of art.

I’m really proud of how well we do with the budget and space we currently have, but there are so many art forms that I’d like to introduce into the hospital – digital, sculpture, performance art, dance.

We’d love to be able to have an arts festival within the hospital. I hope that in the future we’ll also be able to add a research element to the programme, to monitor the physical benefits of creativity within the hospital.

There are so many opportunities – that’s why the money raised for Artfelt through the Herd of Sheffield is so important.

I was part of the team that picked the final Herd of Sheffield designs from more than 300 applications. During the process we were looking for variety but also for artists who had experience of creating 3D art or art in different spaces. Over three quarters of the Herd artists are Sheffield based and seeing such a range of artwork all in one space just showed how diverse art in Sheffield is.

Artfelt and the Herd of Sheffield are both a way of introducing art in a non-intimidating way. The Herd is right there on the streets for everyone go interact with it and enjoy – there’s something for everyone. It’s so important to carry on what we’re learning from the Herd.

If you’ve come to visit the elephants, could you help us fund more art in the hospital? If you’ve sponsored an elephant, have a think about whether you could commission an artist to do something else. Tap into the talent that we have in this city because there’s definitely a brilliantly creative hub here in Sheffield – it just requires other people to shine a light on it!