Vision: Mental Spaghetti is an arts organisation which brings together marginalised groups of society and the general public. In some ways we operate as an artist collective, with lead artist Marie-Louise Plum at the helm, sharing opportunities to exhibit and collaborate. More often than not, we work with groups and individuals with lived experience of mental health issues and current mental health service users, although, not exclusively.
We provide a platform for artists to showcase their work to a wider audience, often working one-to-one with service users to teach them the skills they need – such as designing websites, organising exhibitions and promoting their work – to create their own opportunities and gain a wider audience in the all-too-often exclusive, and tricky to navigate, world of creative arts.
By facilitating creative workshops, accessible exhibitions and events at all skill levels, from the complete novice to practicing and established artists, open to both service users and marginalised groups of society and the general public, we bring together individuals and communities who may not usually interact with each other.
Our lead artist, Marie-Louise Plum, works with a large network of emerging and established artists to provide exciting events, workshops and exhibitions, unafraid to challenge perceptions and straddle sometimes divided sections of society.
We have a large network of fellow artists, musicians, writers, creatives, performance spaces and arts venues, publicity resources and all-round good creative eggs to join in with our creative endeavours, in turn leading to future artistic opportunities and skills sharing for all involved!
Background: Mental Spaghetti was founded by multidisciplinary artist and mental health service user, Marie-Louise Plum, in 2011 as a ‘confessional’ blog to share her experiences in the NHS mental health system. The website soon evolved into a platform for fellow artists and mental health service users to share, develop and promote their own work and meet like-minded peers. A network of artists, both emerging and established, soon starting connecting and working together.
Taking her experience and good connections from working in the media and creative industries, as well as technical skills from working as an art technician and artist, Marie spotted an opening for peers who did not have the advantage of her previous experience to push their own artwork forward, or create further opportunities for themselves.
Initially offering an online platform for artists to showcase their work, Marie soon started facilitating creative workshops for service users, both inpatients and out patients, in clinical settings – such as Highgate Mental Health Centre – and festivals – such as the Amsterdam Urban Arts Festival – curating exhibitions, offering advice and sharing opportunities for exhibitions and work experience.
“Mental Spaghetti is a highly versatile, enthusiastic and energetic organisation, formed of fellow artists and peers, involved in exciting community and outreach projects, as well as exhibitions, performances and art events.”
Mental Spaghetti is also an online resource for like-minded peers, organisations and publications to share their own events, exhibitions and happenings. We publish relevant news and articles, and thought-provoking essays from service users and providers across the globe, as well as promoting published books by service users and events from organisations both user and professional led.
Mental Spaghetti quickly gained a large and loyal readership, recently having been invited to speak about Mental Health in the Media at Bournemouth University, work with the Scottish Mental Health Art and Film Festival and was included in bibliographies as further reading for art therapy students. Mental Spaghetti has also grown recognition through its savvy online presence, hitting top results when searching for art and mental health in search engines.
“The ethos of Mental Spaghetti is to connect people, giving them the skills they need to promote their work, and access the close-knit and often inaccessible art world.”
We now employ other artists and creatives to work alongside the founder, Marie.
The carefully selected artists Mental Spaghetti works with are both emerging and established practitioners, who have all experienced mental health difficulties, and are keen to promote healthy mental wellbeing whilst sharing their own experiences.