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PRESS RELEASE: Stuart Semple & Dorset Mind at Arts by the Sea


  • The 2019 theme for Arts by the Sea is ‘Mind Matter’, providing an intuitive fit for an exhibit from Dorset Mind, as a charity that educates, challenges stigma and promotes recovery from mental ill health with twenty three support groups across Dorset alongside working with schools and businesses to promote mentally healthy environments.
  • According to the Dorset Community Foundation Hidden Dorset Report, 2018 – 132,000 people across Dorset have a mental health issue and half of surveyed school children want more help dealing with stress with 44% stating they need support to deal with mental health issues.
  • Born in Dorset, Stuart Semple is an internationally renowned artist known for his provocative work, often tackling issues surrounding mass culture and it’s effect on our mental health. Stuart has been an ambassador for national Mind charity since 2012.
  • Dorset Mind has a great affinity with Semple’s social mission and the partnership will co-host an interactive exhibit at the festival for visitors to express their creativity and their feelings around their mental health. It will also give the charity an opportunity to reach people in need of support and raise awareness of it’s services.

 September 28th-29th 2019 

In order to meet the growing need for mental health services in the county, Dorset Mind will host an exhibit at Arts by the Sea Festival in order to help visitors to speak up about their mental health and find out about services they can access in Dorset. The exhibit will enable visitors to express themselves in a creative way and make them feel as though they are part of part of the work and not just there to be a spectator.

World-renowned artist, Semple, was born in Dorset and will be partnering with the charity as someone who has long championed the importance of speaking up about mental health, identifying that both being creative and engaging with creativity can be a great tool for supporting wellbeing. Semple is well known for his ‘Happy Clouds’ performance, where he released clouds in the shape of smiley faces into the sky of London during the midst of the recession, in an effort to counteract the ‘doom and gloom’ of British society at the time. The work has since been repeated around the globe.

Semple has held 15 critically acclaimed solo exhibitions internationally in Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Milan, having partnered with cities including Melbourne, Dublin, and Moscow on a collaborative arts installation and public art projects around happiness and inclusion. His most ambitious was Happy City (2018) In which he created several a large scale public installation throughout Denver.  Having featured in exhibitions alongside Andy Warhol and AI Wei Wei, Semple’s work is constantly provoking widespread discussion and examination of popular culture.

‘I have supported Mind for many years , so it’s great to now be supporting a local Mind in my own home town. And I know first hand how powerful Art can be when it comes to mental health. Its exciting to see Arts by The Sea making the link too. I hope Mind Matters Hub brings more awareness to the power of creativity when it comes to self care and wellness.’

Stuart Semple


‘Art can be a crucial tool for anyone suffering with a mental health problem, to help them in expressing their identities and acting as a creative method to unlock difficult emotions. We often work with individuals in our groups and services, supporting them in creative activities as this is a great way to promote personal wellbeing. It is a privelege to partner with such an influential artist in bringing mental health to the forefront Dorset’s arts and cultural scene, enabling us to reduce stigma and empower people to take care of their mental health, seeking help if ever they need it.’

Marianne Storey, CEO of Dorset Mind

Media Enquiries:

Phyllida Swift, PR & Campaigns Officer, Dorset Mind

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