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I joined COEA in September of this year with a friend. I had wanted to join an art class for some time to see if it would have some positive effects upon my ability to cope with my unstable, intractable epilepsy. I was forced to retire on the grounds of ill health and my life had become very insular. Since joining, my confidence has increased significantly due to meeting up with other people who have an interest in art and are very enthusiastic. I am learning many new skills and am able to practice at home which again gives me a focus. Having a tutor in class all the time allows me to work at my own pace and perfect those techniques I find more difficult. One of the major benefits is to see week by week how I and other members in the group improve and experiment more with colours. COEA is an excellent resource which I hope will grow from strength to strength and I certainly intend to keep attending the centre and hopefully improve further.

Chris Spray        


When I began attending art lessons at what has become the Centre of England Arts I had no creative visual skills whatsoever. I could not even draw matchstick men! Now I have the knowledge and confidence to tackle a variety of subjects in a range of media. My hand painted Christmas cards for the family have become a "must have" and I take a lot of grief if I miss anyone out so I must have learned something. There has also been a noticeable effect on my day to day life: whilst out walking I see scenes around me in a different way, noticing their colour, composition and perspective far more; on holiday I tend to visit galleries, exhibitions and workshops even daring to discuss their work with the artists; family/holiday photographs are no longer just "snaps" as I try to use the skills I have learned through art lessons. Apart from these technical aspects, I have also had great fun learning (and sometimes failing)in a changing group of local people whom I would probably not otherwise have met .As an ex-trainer, albeit in an entirely different field, I know the importance of enjoying what you are learning if you are ever going to acquire new skills. Ours has been a fun journey made possible by the Arts Centre and all those involved.

Terry Scott


I have found the Centre of England Arts Centre a calm and pleasant place in which I have been able to improve my artistic ability since retiring. As well as offering Art classes I have learnt how to make jewellery, use my digital camera more effectively  and understand a little of the history of Canal Art and how to paint the pictures associated with the art. These new skills have enabled me to have a more fulfilling retirement.

Jane Cooper


Having retired and wishing to followan ambition to try to paint the opportunity arose in the local village to follow this through. From knowing very little  my work and pleasure in art has greatly increasd ,thanks to a very good teacher and good facilities.  I have learner to work water colours , acrilics, pastills,which brushes, types of paper to use etc. and many other things needed to know to get a good picture. This enriches your life enables you to make new friends and with the new facilities of owr tutor we can now learn new skills eg.didgital photagraphy, jewellary etc.  

Pat Parker


Having just completed my first term at COEA I wanted to say how much I have enjoyed and benefitted from the experience.

Although I have tried watercolour a few times over the years I have always lost my patience/enthusiasm because of the problems and failures which have occurred but which I now know are  very much part of the medium.

However I have over the last few months been able to experience a number of new techniques, better understand the issues and, very importantly been able to see and communicate with fellow "sufferers" in a lovely environment.

These experiences have been very positive for me and a great benefit which I hope will give me the confidence to progress further.  Thank you

Peter Siddal


I would like to say, that I have found my lesson's with the the COEA very interesting and an accessible place to attend.

As an OAP and a novice in the art of water colour painting I feel I have made much progress in my skills in the past 12 months since I began.

I enjoy meeting with other's and seeing how we all interpret our picture's during each lesson.

Having access to many new skills and at such a reasonable cost has made it possible for me to attend on a regular basis.

Carol Woodall


Now that I have retired I don’t know what I would do without the Centre of England Arts. It gets me out to do my hobby of painting and I meet lots of friends. It is very educational and there is always something different going on, I have been to guest artist classes which are organised by the COEA, and have produced some very good paintings, to a very high standard, the tutors are very professional and very helpful, and I get great pleasure and satisfaction from attending these art classes

Mrs S P Wood


I have been studying art in Meriden for just over four years.  It has literally been an education.  The Centre has opened up a whole new world for me introducing many different mediums which has been quite rewarding and, at times, surprisingly successful. The Centre has also enabled me to meet like-minded people from different walks of life and not necessarily local people.  The many different challenges put to us every week certainly stir the imagination not to mention keeping the brain active. The all-day workshops also bring a delightful variety of arts and crafts to our door along with expert tuition from our guest tutors which would possibly be out of reach under normal circumstances.

With a teacher that keeps us on our toes with the many projects she introduces on a weekly basis there is no chance of being bored and I eagerly look forward to my weekly class.

Life would be less challenging and interesting without our Centre of England Arts just around the corner.

Claire Rose


Since joining the Art Class 2 years ago. I have gained a lot of knowledge and understanding of the Art World.  It's giving me the opportunity to mix with other Artists and have access and advice to other Tutors, and Art Exhibitions that I would otherwise not have known or have been able to do myself. It's opened up a whole new World for me and my friends.  For me to have a Hoppy that I love in Retirement also it has helped me to integrate and make friends in the Community.

It's a privilege to have a local opportunity in Art to attend weekly.

Margaret Townsend


I have been going to COEA since September this year.  I am a complete beginner, quite hopeless really but I enjoy the class.  It offers a wide variety of challenges which are all done in a relaxed and happy environment.  I have thought about giving up on a few occasions but I can't do this, thinking that one day I will produce something I can be proud of.

Joan Jones


I have always had an interest in art but until I joined Centre of England Arts I did not realise just how many different techniques could be used to achieve a good painting.   I have developed techniques and tried different mediums - water colours, pastels, water crayons, charcoal, acrylics and sketched or painted a variety of different subjects.  Meeting other likeminded people with different skill levels spurs me on to improve my own art work and I also realise that my own skills have improved over the months.

Christine Sharp