Local artist uses her talent for good

Launchpad supporter, Liz Real, is a well-known Reading artist and over the last two years has been using her talent to raise vital funds for Launchpad – most recently exhibiting her work at the Geo Café in Caversham and donating 10% of the sales to us.

When COVID hit, Liz – who has volunteered for Launchpad at various events and at SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Provision) – wanted to find a way to help raise funds for Launchpad. She came up with the idea for a pop-up gallery in her front garden, called Art in the Arbour, exhibiting and selling a series of unique, individually made greeting cards as well as her art that was created using collage and mixed media. She donated 50% to Launchpad for every card she sold and 10% for each piece of art. In addition, she invited other local makers to collaborate at a series of special Art in the Arbour events and they also donated 10% of their proceeds to Launchpad.

Last year, Liz went on to join forces with Keti, the owner of Geo Café in Caversham, to sell her cards in the café. They also turned the walls into an exhibition space where Liz collaborates with a different artist every few months in support of us, with a donation made to Launchpad from each sale.

Last summer, Liz and six fellow artists also loaned their art to our newly-refurbished work and life skills centre, Launchpad 135, enhancing the environment at the centre and inspiring members in their art and creative sessions. This art is also available to buy, with artists kindly offering a donation of their sales.

Liz is a member of the esteemed Reading Guild of Artists, a diverse group of professional and amateur artists in the Berkshire area and she is also a long-time participant of Caversham Arts Trail when she opens her studio to the public. She enjoys experimenting with different media, like paper collage combined with other media such as paint, oil pastels, stitch or pen, producing interesting effects.  Recently she has rediscovered a love of painting – both watercolour and acrylics.

 Liz said: “Homelessness is such a complex issue and the reasons for it are so varied. I really admire the way Launchpad uses a holistic approach with their clients – they help people overcome their housing challenges, as well as build confidence, develop new skills and ultimately achieve long term stability and independence.

“From a place of helplessness at the start of the pandemic, it feels really good to be able to use my art in a constructive way, hoping that I’m making a small difference in somebody’s life.”

Vicki Lewis, Launchpad Fundraising Manager says:

“Fundraising initiatives like this are so important to our cause, not only because the funds raised help fund our vital services in preventing homelessness, but how they bring awareness to the issue in Reading.

“We are in awe of Liz – instead of hanging up her Launchpad boots when the pandemic hit, she shifted her attention to using her art to raise crucial funds for us. We were totally bowled over when we saw the extent to which Liz was going, not only with her Art in the Arbour and Geo Café initiatives but also getting fellow artists to collaborate and help raise funds for us.”

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