Mum and founder of spray-painting charity seeks studio

Sarah Gillings, founder of U Can Spray charity
Sarah Gillings, founder of U Can Spray charity

A mum-of-four who founded U Can Spray – a charity which aims to make social change through the art of spray-painting – is looking for a home in Mid Sussex.

Sarah Gillings’ dream is to be able to offer year-round workshops for young people and community groups.

Her mission is to find a ‘studio’ or ‘large shop’ in the district, to ‘provide activities for young people’.

She said: “Mid Sussex does not have enough arts-based activities for young people and judging by what I have seen on social media groups, there is definitely a need for activities for young people, that are free and subsidised, so they can get involved in positive activities.

“Not all kids like sport, they want to explore a different medium.

“They are not going to want to do litter picks and through spray-painting and street art, they can get involved with community projects.

“And it gives them confidence and people skills, plus they learn technical skills from aspiring artists.

“So this studio is the next step for the charity. It can be used for workshops for different community groups.

“It can be free to the most vulnerable, such as the homeless, young people with learning difficulties, disabled people and people who suffer from mental health issues or addictions.

“Young people could come in during the evenings or after school and it could be a youth club with a small fee.

“Other services could get involved too such as youth provision, social services, the council and other youth groups.

“Art is proven to be a pain relief and helps with the process of pain, to help let go of things.

“Spray-painting saved my life and helped me through difficult times.

“And it has allowed me to help others, it is therapeutic for them and it is really rewarding for me.”

Sarah, 51, lives in Newick and has four children, aged 12, 15, 24 and 25. She is also a professional artist.

In 2015, she gained a masters degree in inclusive arts practice at the University of Brighton, which is a ‘new genre of art’ which focuses on ‘social change’.

She said: “It can be art of any form, such as therapeutic, dancing, or theatre. I wanted to do something sustainable, that had a positive social change.

“And I thought, we have so many problems going on in our communities, that we could change these with art.”

U Can Spray was founded by Sarah last year.

It has five volunteers and works with professional artists.

It currently makes a profit by touring at music festivals, fairs, and family events.

“People pay to make a piece of art to take home and then this fee goes to the charity. At the moment we work project by project, but we need this studio now so we can have a permanent place,” said Sarah.

Sarah said the charity is always calling for volunteers.

People can email via info@ucanspray.com.

For more information on the charity visit www.ucanspray.com