The Grateful Arts Club

Meeting Charla from The Grateful Hearts Club and getting her on one of our first podcasts back in the Autumn of 2019 was a revelation for me. I have always tried to be a happy go lucky gal and I have a lot of friends around me that would vouch for that. The thing about being grateful every day though is understanding what gratitude really is and I feel this hadn’t really been represented in Southsea before on a deep level until Charla came along.

Watching Charla grow the business of TGHC into a full-time venture, offering coaching and workshops as well as selling grateful heart products has been inspiring. Charla is a real empath. When you meet her, work with her, or collaborate with her you feel all the trauma she has been through to get to where she is now but you also get a feeling of understanding what grief, gratitude, and healing feels like.

Who would have thought that we would all be in a global pandemic last year? Out of the ashes of emotional turbulence and despair stood Charla and she was happy to offer us guidance, understanding, and a way to grasp what true gratitude means.

From meeting Charla and buying some of her gratitude gift packs I have spent every night going to sleep and being grateful for so many things. On bad days it has made me realise how important this little routine is in my head. On good days it has helped me to feel really lifted and appreciate all that is good in my life. I never knew how much I needed to be grateful until I hit a dark cloud of emotions.

Because of all the connections that Charla has gained over the last two years with artists and creatives, it seemed a natural transition to develop an idea into an event. A thought of what to do for ‘World Gratitude Day’ this year materialised into collaborating and that’s how the Grateful Arts Club was created. A celebration of gratitude but also utilising that by giving back to the community and using art as a way to show the people of Southsea and Portsmouth an awareness, a community vibe, togetherness, and a wave of positivity.

The Grateful Arts Club has its own Instagram handle and it has also been a project that has been going on over a 10 week period. Working with a charity Motiv8 and M8Bikes, where young people from all backgrounds can access a workshop weekly, using art and other mediums like poetry to help them feel inspired to be whatever they want to be, and improve their life situations. By using creativity, it allows them to explore their feelings and also come together as a group and achieve something.

Charla said she felt the whole project has been about ‘working from our community to give back to our community’.

Each week a different artist or creative has worked with Charla and a young collective on creating something and finding a way to bring gratitude into that class.

The final part of this project will end with an exhibition of not only some of Portsmouth’s finest artists like Alice Coffey, Roo Abrook, Stu Linfield, and When We Were Cows, but also the young attendees of the project. Holding the exhibition at St Margaret’s on the 18th of September, just before World Gratitude Day on the 21st allows for a huge celebration. All the art produced will be up for sale and proceeds will go back to the charity Motiv8 to help them produce similar projects and give young people the best life chances they can get.

Starting at 10am on Saturday the 18th September and ending at 4pm it looks to be a wonderful day for all the family with activities and Unmade Radio will be there too.

To find out more details please check out the poster and see the icons below.

Photo Artwork by Will Hutchinson