The NPO Sm-art is currently busy with an upliftment plan in Mitchell’s Plain where artists use the art for mental health and art for therapy.
The idea behind the plan is for the betterment of Mitchell’s Plain in its entirety and the NPO has partnered with Mitchell’s Plain clinic and physiotherapists from Van Vuuren physiotherapy.
The partnership came after Sm-art employed 100 artists of all genres as part of the presidential employment programme with the Craft and Design Institute.
“It is our belief that our mentorship through art can make or break the development of our Mitchell’s Plain societies. In its variety of forms, art has the power to preserve elements of cultures that are disappearing under the effects of globalisation. Sm-art has gone the extra mile to employ hundreds of unemployed artists. Additionally, they upskilled these artists so they can further themselves,” says Zeenat Isaacs, project manager.
She says they are the only organisation in the area that uses art to provide an economic boost to the community.
“We employed 100 artists from impoverished areas and they are multi-versatile, ranging from singers, dancers and break-dancers to rappers, poets, graffiti artists, muralists and band players. The clinic and physiotherapists will look after the well-being and overall health of the artists. The partnership will help the 100 employees, and hopefully, more will show interest, to touch, uplift, impact and empower them as they go along,” she says.
Since October, Sm-art has also been handing out food and toiletry packs in all communities.
“We’ve helped people to get permanent employment and further their studies, both in and out of arts. We ran various workshops from Mondays to Fridays to empower the employees on how to open a successful business in the arts sector. The Sm-art GBV sector gives free legal advice and assistance to those affected by GBV.
“Our safe house accommodates women and children affected by GBV and it is here that art for mental health and art for therapy is practised. The upliftment campaign started in October at the Farm Recreational Centre in Montrose Park and was a huge success. The campaign ran once a week and this year we aim to create safe, dignified communities through their artworks.
“We’ll continue with creating murals with love and the idea is not only to beautify the different communities but to empower Mitchell’s Plain,” she says.