Art with Heart, based in Islington Mill, Salford, is a people led creative arts company that make high quality, accessible creative experiences for audiences and participants.
The company was founded by Salford University graduate Sarah Emmott in 2010, and it grew in 2013 when Rachel Moorhouse joined the team.
Art with Heart aim to make a positive change in society by holding workshops, exhibitions, creating short films, hosting different events and creating partners with different organisations.
Moorhouse, from Stockport, said: “I think that change is at the route of everything we do, it’s kind of seeking to make some sort of change, whether that be to someone individually, to a community or to society.
“This change could be seemingly small from the outside, like helping build someone’s confidence or helping to unleash their creativity, to something much bigger like encouraging a school to make structural change for how they work with young people with neurodiversity for example.”
The company work on many projects spanning across a wide range of subjects such as mental health, sexuality, identity and equality.
Moorhouse said: “I think equality and access runs through every strand of our work and that might be looking at equality in a broader societal sense and how we can bring about that change, or it could be about equality in how we can make our work more accessible.”
You can hear why Emmott and Moorhouse love working for Art with Heart below:
Since its creation, Art with Heart have been commissioned to create work for, and partnered with the Museum of London, Southbank Centre, Contact, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, People’s History Museum, Manchester Science Festival, Manchester City Council and more.
Emmott, the founder of Art with Heart, said: “I sort of made a company by accident because I felt a bit gross saying ‘hey look at me I’ve made this thing come and look at it’, it was much easier to say ‘oh I am an artist working under a guise of a company you can see what they’re doing’.
“It happened by accident and by necessity – I found that I really wanted to make work and found that people responded well to my work so I realised that actually I could do this.”
Art with Heart are passionate about making art accessible for everyone.
Moorhouse said: “Me and Sarah were really keen to bring new people into art spaces and change perspectives of people who already access those spaces as well.
“I think that’s what’s really nice when we talk about Art with Heart – it’s bigger than us!”
In line with their passion for making art accessible for everyone, Art with Heart created a seed fund for working class creatives in Greater Manchester to help them with their projects.
Moorhouse said: “Freelancers make up 70% of the industry and as we’ve seen in the pandemic it’s a really unstable field to work in.
“People that we’ve been working with and talking with are already having to consider moving out of the industry or taking jobs that will severely cut out their creative time.
“Some of the funds that are available, you need to have more of a formed idea or end product that you’re putting out there and actually for people that don’t have much access to finances, just having the time and resources to play with an idea is really difficult.
“So we kind of said well what if we put together a seed fund and the application process is easy.”
The seed fund gives the recipients up to £500 to help develop their skills and ideas. The recipients also receive mentoring support from Art with Heart and help with signing up to Islington Mill’s business support programme.
Emmott said: “It’s a tiny nugget of support so that you can have that time to work on your project.”
During lockdown in October 2020, Art with Heart also created the mini-podcast series ‘Box Tickers Podcast’. A podcast that looks at the Equality Act 2010 and questions if ‘protection’ is enough.
Emmott said: “We do work with schools, we run workshops with thousands of students across Greater Manchester each year that talks about equality. We talk about what the Equality Act is, who is protected under it and ask is it working.
“The pandemic hit and we were like – oh we can’t go into schools what do we do then?
“In 2020, it was the Equality Act 2010’s 10th birthday, and we wanted to look at what has changed, if anything has changed and is protection enough, because protection isn’t active – it exists.
“We wanted to look at what action looks like and being an ally. It’s about how do we become active in fighting for people and how we look at what the connections are between lots of different characteristics.
“Because often our identities aren’t just one single thing – we’re intersectional. We have lots of different parts of ourselves. We ask – how do we create a world that is good for us all?”
To find out more about Art with Heart’s projects such as their bilingual play ‘Stan’ and the ‘Golden Years Caravan’ roving cinema and art gallery go to their website.