The CARDS Community Art Group was originally created during the pandemic to support our community members to communicate their experiences through creativity. Our volunteers support their clients to make art in any medium, encouraging them to create a representation and reflection of their experiences. The artworks are showcased in a monthly zine and we host monthly creative sessions at the National Portrait Gallery, led by our resident artist, Sam Rutherford.

Introduction to our Community Art Group

Resident Artist Sam Rutherford introduces the CARDS Community Art Group

Safe Spaces in
The National Galleries of Scotland

National Galleries of Scotland have provided CARDS Community Members with the venue to create a space which allows them to share their experiences in an inspiring, welcoming environment.

Selected works

These images were created by the Self-Reflection by the Guided Self Discovery Group and the CARDS Community. They were shown as part of the Out of Sight Out of Mind exhibition, Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival at Summerhall, Edinburgh.

Through the Looking Glass

This idea started when I was reading Alice in Wonderland with my son. In the sequel Alice looks through the looking glass into a strange and mysterious world. Looking in the mirror I see a world that is recognisable but at the same time unfamiliar, back to front. Should I be scared or curious? Can I overcome my fear and explore this other world?


This work is about the interconnected and complicated reasons that people develop alcohol dependancy. It is about the connections and health of the inner body. The electrical impulses of the brain, and the impulse to keep on drinking. I made this work in response to my experience volunteering with CARDS and was also inspired by my own personal experiences of the intertwining of physiology, mental health and trauma.


Freedom sounds fine but you can’t stay high forever. But what if you’ve forgotten which way is down.

Mind Blowing

Me sitting on a couch facing away from Life.

The chair scare

During high school I really struggled with anxiety & panic attacks. I was very triggered by sitting in certain seats in classrooms and couldn’t sit in the exam hall. 8 years later I returned to the school and the exam hall & classroom. This time I was standing in front of 40 people and presenting to them for 40 minutes by myself. No panic attack and no impending doom, just a full circle feeling of accomplishment.

Just keep swimming

Abstract becoming real

A year of new things, and figuring it out.


Revolutions involve change, the shifting of ideas. As I grew more comfortable in myself, I grew more comfortable in my non-binary gender. I always knew I felt different, and I could not find words or ways to express it for years. Time and reflection have led to a calm yet joyful acceptance of myself.

“Shift” reflects the ebbs and flows of gender and life. It is a celebration of the joy of living and inclusive diversity.

Choose the light

Even in our darkest moments we have a choice. Life can be so beautiful if we choose the light, from rainbows to nature and family. I hope I managed to portray that in the this image.

Pill bugs

Pill bugs are sometimes called slaters. They are the only crustaceans that Live on land, spending their lives looking for places damp enough to survive. They’re wee, often hidden, but they’re also stubborn, hardy and adaptable!

The Clock of my heart

These are photos of clocks in my house. I’m obsessed with clocks and watches, possibly because I used to live in Greenwich – that’s why I was very mean (time).

Me brain's addled!

An attempt to show the worry and anxiety of brain fog, confusion and memory problems. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s improved my mental health. It removed uncertainty and allowed me to move forward.

Good things are coming

This is how I view my personal revolution. Looking ahead and seeing that good things are waiting for me.

About me

A description of things that are organised or disorganised which are all part of Life and come together.

My fish

My fish means peace and how lovely it is to swim free.

Becoming a CARDS Art Volunteer is easy

Whether you are ready to jump in and start helping people now, or have questions use this form to get in touch with us. We will get back to you and help you get going.

Role interest

6 + 3 =

Meet our team

Our team at CARDS has a huge amount of experience, both professional and lived. They are here for you, without conditions or judgement. They will use their knowledge to find a volunteer who is personally right for you.

Tracey Stewart

Service leader

David Milne

Peer Support Manager

Michaela Devlin

Community Development & Outreach Worker

Priya Patel

NHS Hospital Link Worker

Kiera Russell

Community Volunteer Co-ordinator

Catherine Menta

NHS Lothian ARBD After Care Co-Ordinator