Obvious Arts is a one-man show, set up in June 2016 by Fergus Ryan, which specialises in therapeutic activities, arts in education and performance.
Fergus wanted the chance to work for himself and make the most out of the freedom this offered. He felt constrained working in other organisations, and felt that he couldn’t offer an exception service to his clients if he wasn’t completely dedicated to his love of arts and care.
Having suffered from a brain tumour in his 20s, Fergus spent extended periods recovering from hospital treatment and felt inspired and impelled to help others dealing with similar conditions. Fergus saw the potential in the arts and music to play a role in rehabilitating and helping people with brain injuries and mental health conditions. Combining professional experience of care work with performing arts skills, Fergus set up Obvious Arts, an umbrella organisation for Fergus’ many talents.
Fergus’ current endeavours include teaching sit-down tai chi in care homes, teaching people how to play musical instruments and develop radio skills, and he has been involved in sound design for theatre. Fergus is working on projects in sound and movement therapy, conducting workshops and running a drama club at a local school.
Fergus gets great satisfaction from his work, with which he aims to empower people to express themselves whilst also having fun. His areas of therapy are also receiving greater recognition, with studies showing the benefits of tai chi for elderly falls prevention and brain tissue health.
There have been challenges along the way though. Having relocated to a new town, he had to establish new networks and contacts – he says that this was initially very difficult. Fergus adapted to his new situation by diversifying the services offered by Obvious Arts. He has started doing storytelling at a schools during National Storytelling Week and is working on nourishing children’s imaginations with folklore, myth and story.
Fergus has many new ideas for Obvious Arts; he would like to do more improvisation and role play gaming within the community, seeing this as a growing area and also a great use of creative imagination. He wants to further develop his music therapy – this is very timely with the growing research and recognition into the effectiveness of music therapy.
Fergus found his loan from Start Up Loans very useful in helping him set up his website, to pay membership for the key organisations he wanted to join, helping with his cash flow and using it to pay for PR and marketing.