Tom McCabe: A Profile

Tom McCabe current CEO of CoolTan Arts, a charity that help adults who suffer from mental health.

Tom McCabe is the CEO of CoolTan Arts, a charity ran to help adults with mental health problems. CoolTan Arts helps adults who are referred by their GP and their psychiatric nurses. The charity started 25 years ago in Brixton, but it moved to Southwark, Walworth Road. This is charity is funded by the patience’s personal health budgets from the NHS, personalisation money via by the NHS, and they also have to apply for different trusts and foundations.

Three years ago, McCabe started working at CoolTan Arts as a consultant to help fundraising development work. After working there for a year, there were some administrating changes in CoolTan, with these changes it led to McCabe being invited to be an operation director intern. Around a year and half ago McCabe was asked to be the CEO of CoolTan Arts. 

Being born and raised in Upstate New York, McCabe lived and worked many years in New York before moving to Philadelphia. It’s where he worked for years and a place that he can call home “kind of what I almost call home”.  Tom comes from a background in international arts management, which means he’s worked with sound engineering, lightning design, arts administration such as working with facilities management, programming curation, performing arts, visual arts as in creating visual arts exhibitions. 

When McCabe first started he worked in folk culture and folk art, which also included world music. Tom has “worn several different hats” in the arts facilities and general management. He was once manager director in an organisation in New York and Philadelphia. This then proceeded to him doing subcontract work as a consultant in some well-known festivals, such as New Orleans Jazz Festival and The Big Chill Festival.

With having moved to the U.K 21 years ago for personal reasons, McCabe “has seen a lot of the world” whether it was through work or holiday. This had led to McCabe actually conducting tours for artists in Europe and Overseas.

He saw a lot of artists struggle to maintain their mental health in a good state.  McCabe was inspired. ” I came across people in the arts who are straddling a fairly fine line between an artistic genius and the other side of that fine line or threshold could be some really disturbing issues with their mental health.” And this is one of the reasons McCabe does what he does now, he says.

He explained that being an artistic genius “isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always stimulated by a health mind set. So, what’ll happen is people will self-medicate. As I found in the arts, that might be through alcohol or through drugs. You’ll see a lot of people struggling.” Because of all of this McCabe had always thought how could he help the artists, so he started to talk to them and ask them how they felt and from this onwards McCabe started working towards helping mental health.