Stephen Sculpting Degas, George and Stephen

The SMart programme is one of the our most successful community ventures. Managed by Kate Horbury, Access Programmes Manager, SMart Art Partners is a joint arts initiative linking Somerset House Trust and its cultural tenants with socially excluded people who are part of the SMart Network. Since its inception SMart has been supported by Ernst &Young, who have recently renewed the funding for a further year.

SMart provides creative opportunities for London artists without homes, who come to us through organisations such as The Connection at St Martin’s in-the-Fields. These artists may be experiencing mental health problems, restarting their lives after drug abuse or prostitution, or living on the streets or in hostels.

Supporting the Department’s mission to provide high-quality learning based on the buildings and collections at Somerset House, the programme offers participants twice- monthly all-day sessions, visits to the collections and practical workshops in the Learning Centre.

The impact of these workshops is summed up by John Sheehy, a regular participant, who has just completed the second year of an art course at the University of East London: ‘The art workshops… helped me tremendously. It was a great honour to work in this environment, with its …architecture, history, art, art historians and lectures. The workshops boosted my confidence….and really turned my life around. The atmosphere and dynamics and immense knowledge of the staff, as well as having lunch the Courtyard with the fountains and ice rink, were very inspiring and healing.’

The work produced during last year’s sessions can be seen in a highly successful exhibition, The SMart Collection currently in the Courtauld Gallery café. One third of the exhibits have now been sold, an important additional outcome of the project.

Click here for further information about SMart

Ghislaine Kenyon
Head of Learning