Inclusive Art Exhibition – Art Beyond Sight – creating art with a visual impairment

Thank you to the Focus on Vision CIC in Stockton-on-Tees, which along with support from the Big Lottery helped to fund our exhibition of the work of two of our visually impaired groups, from Stockton and Hartlepool.

The exhibition was held from Friday the 22nd June to Friday the 6th of July at the Palace Arts Gallery in Redcar, a seaside resort on the coast near Middlesbrough. See pictures on the Exhibition 2018 page.

The show was open to the public and looked fabulous. What made it so special was that it included features to improve accessibility such as labels for each art work with audio, a catalogue in Braille, large print information and use of smells and tastes to appeal to the senses. Feedback from the artists, gallery staff and visitors has been very positive. 
We are hoping to be able to show the work at another gallery or venue and are busy making connections!

Going from strength to strength

GFI is currently seeking funding including cash donations to enable us to offer more varied social activity sessions for older people and people with visual impairments in the NE.  We have been successful in applying for a small Big Lottery Grant * read more about our project * and have also been commissioned to deliver a programme of Art and Craft workshops for a group of Volunteers and for a BME group, running from September 2017 through to February 2018.

A very big thank you to a friend in Saltburn by the Sea, who has donated some wonderful art materials to our cause - very much appreciated!

Donations of art magazines, equipment and materials would be very welcome - and would help us to reach more people. In particular we can very effectively recycle costume jewellery - using the beads to run jewellery workshops, and unused balls of wool, knitting needles and patterns for our knitting and crochet sessions.
Email us at or phone us on 01287 204204 if you have anything to offer - we can then arrange deliveries. Collections may be possible if we are in the area.

Resources Wish List:

  • Painting - brushes, acrylics, watercolours, oils, canvasses, palettes, paper, easels...
  • Drawing - pencils, charcoals, pastels, paper, inks, drawing boards...
  • A lightbox would be useful.
  • Books on techniques, artists, genres, architecture etc
  • Art and Crafts magazines
  • Large Cutting mat
  • Metal rulers
  • Textiles - rags, pure cotton, muslin, silk, velvet
  • Wipe-clean Aprons, overalls
  • Costume jewellery - broken and unwanted necklaces and bracelets
  • Wool and knitting needles, pattern books
  • Rubber stamps


Stop Press! June 7th 2017

GFI won a Catalyst Community Arts Award - for "an individual or organisation who has dedicated themselves over time to the arts in Stockton-On-Tees for the benefit of others."

Follow the link to see the Catalyst page about the Awards.

We were also a finalist in the awards category of Innovation, Partnership and Enterprise!

A huge thank you to Christine Durnion, CE of Focus on Vision - - for giving us the opportunity to try out the art sessions and for nominating us for both of these awards.

We are planning an exhibition (in early 2018)of the great work being produced when we complete our workshop programme. Watch this space!

Menu of Art and Craft Workshops and Activities offered :

  • Painting and drawing 
  • Clay workshops- ceramics and modelling
  • Collage
  • Glass painting  
  • Embroidery
  • Knitting and crochet
  • Fabric painting
  • Jewellery making 
  • Mosaics
  • Greetings cards
  • Sessions about art history 
  • Visits to museums and galleries     To book or to get more information about the availability of workshops includig costs please contact


Inclusive Art – our aims and objectives
The provision of community – based social 
activities incorporating art and craft sessions will not only help to reduce isolation and provide opportunities to make new friends, but will also develop the capacity and skills of adults and older people and members of socially disadvantaged adult groups including those with sensory and physical impairments, mental ill health and learning difficulties. 

To develop this service GFI has set up Inclusive Art – bringing in experienced artists and craftsmen to run specially designed sessions tailored to the needs of the group, aiming to ensure equality of access and social inclusion, leading to improved health and wellbeing.

Through this work we will be able to advance the arts, culture and the education of the public in the subjects of inclusive and accessible visual and three-dimensional art.

Many people enjoy creative art and craft activities but find that as they become less mobile, or develop long term conditions including sensory impairments, there are fewer opportunities accessible to them. GFI will provide activities using a wide range of materials, in local informal settings where they can be safely used with appropriate support.

For some people the chance to express their thoughts and feelings using the creative arts will be of therapeutic value. 

People will also be able to make new friends, improve their confidence, share memories of their own art experiences, and wherever relevant, find new ways of doing things to help to stay independent.

Read more on our About Inclusive Art and Wider Objectives pages 

Page updated June 2018