David Shrigley Opens Art School For Mental Health

Quirky UK artist David Shrigley has opened an art school.

It’s called the Sidmouth School of Art (SSA) but before we get into that, I want to talk about one of his upcoming art projects. It involves pulping 5,000 copies of Dan Brown’s literary abomination The Da Vinci Code. Shrigley describe the project in an interview with The Guardian last week. ‘I’ve acquired 5,000 copies of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code,’ he said, ‘and I’m pulping them all. Then I’m making paper with it and, on that paper, I’m reprinting an edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I can do it because nobody wants to buy The Da Vinci Code anymore—they just want to deposit it. So that for me is a project about: “Wake up! We are sleepwalking into a totalitarian regime!”‘ That’s a great message to broadcast, but I think the real takeaway should be the Da Vinci Code was complete shit and if there was a God, Dan Brown would be living in a tent beneath an underpass. But I digress—David Shrigley has opened an art school.

The Sidmouth School of Art functions as a mental health and wellbeing charity. During lockdown, Shrigley sold his house in Brighton and used funds to set up SSA in Devon with three partners. They are currently seeking charitable status and are in talks with a local GP to see if patients might be referred to the school. ‘If I can make an art project that is helping people with mental health problems,’ Shirigley told The Guardian, ‘then is that more helpful than making a funny drawing about the mental health crisis?’

The school’s ‘About’ page describes the school as a place where students can ‘discover hidden talents through new experiences, taking part in making art or enjoying the benefits of art… We are nurturing creativity, health and wellbeing through art and [creating] opportunities to flourish and realise our creative selves. SSA is where people, places and spaces can connect through art to be curious, creative and happier.’ For more info, visit sidmouthart.org

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