Here at Urban Partners, we’re committed to making our neighbourhood a better place to live, work and do business. We are in regular contact with a range of charities from the local area so we can better understand how our local businesses and employees can help them achieve their objectives.

In addition to providing details of LOCAL AREA CHARITIES we also highlight those who have specific VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES to be filled throughout the year.

Each month, we spotlight a specific charity, in order to better educate local employees about the work they do. This month we visited the team at Artbox. Talking to Madeline Alterman, director of Artbox, we heard first-hand about the work they do and how businesses can help.

Name of Charity: Artbox London
Address: Studio 1, Orkney House, 195- 199 Caledonian Road, London N1

“Artbox was set up in 2011 to provide much needed opportunities for people with learning disabilities to access the arts and be included in their local community.”

Artbox run art workshops in Islington, go on trips to museums and galleries in Central London and provide exhibition and sales opportunities so that each of the artists can exhibit, sell and earn an income from their work.

Many adults with learning disabilities struggle to get out of the house, meet new people, earn an income and live independent lives. Artbox have developed opportunities that aim to improve the wellbeing, inclusion and independence of people with learning disabilities.

Artbox Workshops take place in Islington. The artists work with volunteers to try techniques such as collage, painting, embroidery, model making, photography and printmaking. The workshops are fun and sociable. All the artists follow their own inspiration and develop their own ideas – for people who might have limited choice in other areas of their lives, the workshops are a valuable chance to explore their own identity and become more independent.

Artbox Trips are arranged to art galleries and libraries in central London. This is a fantastic way for the artists to learn about art, get new ideas and take part in the cultural life of the amazing city they live in. The groups always take public transport during such trips, which helps the artists feel more confident getting around in London. Some artists now visit these places outside of Artbox, which is a great achievement.

Artbox Exhibitions give the artwork the visibility and recognition it deserves. The artists also attend, giving visitors an opportunity to meet with and get to know the artists and artwork. These interactions, however small, can make a big difference to people’s perceptions of learning disability, and help challenge stereotypes. As a registered charity and social enterprise, all profits go back to supporting people with learning disabilities.

Success Stories
In 2017, Artbox:

  • Worked with more than 50 people with learning disabilities in regular studio sessions, mindfulness courses, outreach work in City and Islington College and through our exhibition.
  • Provided over 100 workshops and showcased art in eight venues across London.
  • Arranged exhibition trips so that each artist visited an average of five exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Held an event during Mental Health Awareness week in May 2016, which included a talk from the Museum of Mind and one of Artbox’s own artists, who talked about the role of art in mental health.
  • Held a treasure hunt in and around the Barbican in September, which was a great way of developing the artists’ confidence walking around London.
  • Held an exhibition that was well attended and included work by artists from the Hoffman Foundation and Mencap Islington.
  • Gained an office commission and developed the website to showcase and sell artwork.

Case Study
Hisba, an artist with Down’s syndrome, has been going to Artbox since its beginning in 2011. In 2011 she earned an income for the first time when selling some art. As a result of this, her confidence grew and she gained an interest in work and earning money! She now works part time and has a salary. She has continued to sell an increasing number of artwork and recently sold a series of pieces to a company based in Bank, who have decorated their boardrooms with her art. Hisba has also promoted one of the Artbox exhibitions through a live interview on ITV news, has attended meetings with Artbox, has helped to sell artwork and has given presentations about her art and the organisation. She is now a volunteer and mentor in the studio sessions and remains an encouraging and inspiring role model for the other artists.

To financially support Artbox, see

£15 will buy art materials to help someone create a masterpiece
£30 will help get a volunteer started in the studio
£50 will help pay for studio hire for a session
£100 will pay for a group trip to see art and get inspired

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Artbox and can help out at workshops, trips or exhibitions or share their skills in their own area of expertise (eg web design, photography, accounting etc)

Corporate Support
In the last few years Artbox has partnered with some fantastic businesses in charitable and creative initiatives, such as Bank of America Merril Lynch, Marks and Spencers, Attic Self Storage, Mazars and Say Media. Corporate involvement can be as simple as purchasing art for a business’s premises or be as involved as implementing a one off volunteer day or a regular volunteering programme. Artbox work with businesses to develop a partnership that meets corporate needs and is enjoyable, enriching and meaningful for all involved. For more information, contact [email protected]