Art exhibition to showcase the work of Northampton Hope Centre users this weekend

Juris has set up his own studio at the Hope Centre and likes to paint every morning and afternoon. This self-portrait took nearly two weeks to complete, and will not be on sale.
Juris has set up his own studio at the Hope Centre and likes to paint every morning and afternoon. This self-portrait took nearly two weeks to complete, and will not be on sale.

Artists from Northampton's Hope Centre will come together this weekend to showcase over 50 canvases, created since January, to raise money for charity.

Service user, Juris Truls, 65 - who was classically trained in art in Riga, Latvia - had a stroke five years ago and he lost the use of his right hand.

The mayor of Northampton, Tony Ansell will officially open the exhibition on Friday night.

The mayor of Northampton, Tony Ansell will officially open the exhibition on Friday night.

Mr Truls moved to England nine years ago as a church restoration worker in Wales and moved to Northampton to be closer to one of his friends.

He became homeless and lived at the Hope Centre for nearly two years where he spent a lot of his time in the art studio. Now he lives over the road and uses the centre every morning and afternoon.

Now he has self-taught himself to paint left-handed and has since created beautiful oil paint portraits and still life art canvases, some of which will be sold at the Service User Art Exhibition at the Vintage Retreat in Lower Harding Street today.

Occupational therapist Shelley, who volunteers at the Hope Centre, helps to lead the art workshops. She said: "Everyone has experienced mental health and drug and alcohol problems.

Pictures will go on sale on Friday and Saturday.

Pictures will go on sale on Friday and Saturday.

"We have a couple who have severe mental health problems who use art therapeutically. It puts structure into their lives - this is a healthy alternative to make friendships. We are so lucky to watch them grow.

"What we are trying to do is make sure the service is here for everyone so they have our support to stop them going back on the streets."

As well as work from Juris, crafts, paintings and concept art will be on display from four other groups at the Hope Centre.

Yesterday evening the exhibition was officially opened by the mayor of Northampton Tony Ansell before a silent auction was held.

50 per cent of profits from the auction will be given to the artist and the leftover funds will be invested into services at the Hope Centre.