Artwork of the Week - ‘Untitled’ by Jim Douglas

We discovered this, freshly painted in the workshops by Jim Douglas and had to share it as our Artwork of the Week!

Jim’s paintings are radically different and often feature people or animals in large abstractions. Made of swathes of vibrant colours, dense configurations of human and animal forms mingle in a flat relief and his signature vignettes of flowers, dots and stars which border his paintings create a delicate sense of light and balance.

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Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween, and this spooky image was created by the scarily talented Ruth Mutch! Have a look at some of her other art on her blog, Penguin Parade.

We wish you a frightfully spectacular Halloween! 

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Meet the Volunteers - Phoebe Barnicoat

This week, let us introduce you to Phoebe Barnicoat, who is volunteering with our Art Matters classes. 

'After graduating from Painting and Printmaking at GSA in 2013, I was keen to pursue my interest in art therapy and Project Ability gave me the chance to do so! Working at the Saturday ‘Create’ workshops with young adults I have had the pleasure of meeting a variety of fascinating artists. Everyone has individually let me into their own world stimulating exciting discussions and passionate art making.  I have gained strong connections amongst the group and will often find myself suddenly thinking of an artist or a film to recommend to one of the students during the week.

I feel honoured to be part of such a vibrant, stimulating and inspiring organisation! I have learnt a lot about how to manage projects particularly with young adults who may have quite a certain vision of what they would like to get out of the workshops. Thus Project Ability creates a free atmosphere enabling the students to experiment with their own ideas in a comfortable environment that has been such a wonderful experience to work within.

I really can’t stress more how brilliant volunteering at Project Ability has been. Not only has it been fascinating but I’ve had so many laughs and great conversations that I look forward to coming in every week for more!'

Thank you Phoebe! It's a pleasure to have you in our team!

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Walking Group - Week 4

Another Wednesday walk and another lucky break in the weather, so once again umbrellas were not required!

Last week's walkers visited what turned out to be a series of oasis of calm, starting off with the old cemetery to the rear of the Ramshorn Theatre at the top of Candleriggs. Next stop was Rottenrow Gardens to see the George Wylie sculpture commemorating the historic maternity hospital that stood there until it was demolished in 2002.

From there we crossed through some of the University of Strathclyde campus gardens and stopped to take some photographs of the Gerard Laing abstract steel sculpture which mimics the Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis. Another George Wylie sculpture was passed along the way before we emerged and crossed over the High Street to the Cathedral.

After a short exploration of the grand interior we walked back down the High Street to Trongate 103 to upload our photos and make some plans for our next venture.

See more photos on our Facebook page. 

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Comedy Night, raffle and pop-up shop!

Our big comedy fundraiser is coming up very soon! 

As well as the comedy acts, including headliner Jojo Sutherland and compere Patrick Rolink,  we will have a pop-up Project Ability shop, and a raffle! Some of the prizes include an afternoon tea for two at The Butterfly and the Pig, 8 tickets to comedy club Jongleurs and a Project Ability artwork!

Don't wait any longer to book your ticket! Only £5!

You can buy your tickets at the Project Ability reception, over the phone by calling us at 0141 552 2822, or online via the Comedy Lounge Facebook Page (scroll down to find the Project Ability event).

We hope to see you there, all the money raised will go towards our workshop programmes. A good laugh and a good deed, you don't want to miss this event!

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Young Talent on Screen - How to Make Your Own Film

The new block of Young Talent on Screen workshops has just started, and young filmmakers Harris and Michael have released their 'Film Pro Tips' video, which will help any aspiring director to start their own short film.

From storyboarding to editing, they tell you everything you need to know, step by step. 

If you have an idea for a film, don't wait any longer! You can submity your existing films to Click here for more information on the festival and to download a submission form. 

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Project Ability in Paris with the European Outsider Art Association

On the 24th and 25th October Project Ability attended a board meeting of the European Outsider Art Association in Paris to plan the EOAA 2014 conference, the exhibition 25 years of Raw Vision at Halle Saint Pierre and the Outsider Art Fair 2013.

We met artist Tanya Raabe-Webber and her husband Neil having tea in the rain in the Tuileries Gardens.

First two photos by Raija Kallioinen

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Glasgow Inter School Poetry Slam Trophy - Designed by Michael Earll

For the ninth year a Project Ability artist has provided a remarkable handmade trophy for the Glasgow Inter School Poetry Slam. Take a look:

This year’s stunning award has been designed and made by Create artist Michael Earll from painted, laser cut perspex. Whoever receives such a prize is no doubt going to be very pleased with their truly unique trophy!

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Artwork of the Week - Untitled by Alan Lesslie

This week we are very pleased to bring you a portrait by Alan Lesslie, part of a series currently on show in Project Ability Gallery for the exhibition Outside In: Scotland

Alan makes portraits of people he comes across in magazines; an exercise is motivated by a sheer personal passion to paint faces. These resulting snapshots are more real and revealing than the slick magazine portraits they originate from and in their own way are just as surreal as a retouched headshot.

Lesslie’s work distances us from any halo of glamour and with his devotion to the painting process, feels instead like glancing through a scrapbook filled with photos of the artists’ friends.

Alan Lesslie is an artist based in ArtAngel, Dundee. The exhibition Outside In: Scotland continues until 9 November, open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5pm, Project Ability Gallery. 


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art in the gart is now launched!

The inaugural exhibition of art in the gart opened yesterday in Gartnavel royal Hospital.

Thank you to everyone who made it, to Fiona Sinclair, Clare Scott and Colin McCormack for all their hard work, and to all the artists and tutors.

The exhibition looks fantastic!


For more photos, check out our Facebook Page. 

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Meet the Volunteers: Mairi Henderson

This week's volunteer is Mairi Henderson, who has been a great addition to our Saturday morning classes. Thank you, Mairi!

‘Having been interested in Project Ability for several years since I started my undergraduate studies, I am over the moon, as a new graduate, to now have this opportunity to be involved and contribute to the Saturday Create classes. Having had a little experience working with children before, Project Ability has re-established my passion for working with this age range. I get a great sense of joy, when placing a blank piece of paper and a pen on the table, at the endless possibilities this form of creativity and expression can hold and at the excitement and positive emotions that art has the potential of creating. Watching a variety of these creative processes unfold and being able to help facilitate this gives me great satisfaction and always puts a bright spark to my Saturdays. I am also interested in a future career in teaching and being involved in workshops of this capacity and I also have an interest in art therapy. Project Ability is a perfect opportunity for me to learn more and gain skills and experiences which I can hopefully continue to build on and develop in other similar projects in the future.

My own work is predominately printmaking and painting and I have just started my masters in fine art practice printmaking at Glasgow school of art. I am fascinated by the urban environment and am visually inspired by the immediate world around me. For me, the learning experience never ends and I enjoy the sense of constantly discovering new things. I look forward to this following year to further develop my work and learn new forms and methods in this field as well as continuing to develop myself as a practicing artist and creatively minded person.’
-Mairi Henderson

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art in the gart - opening 22/10

art in the gart is a collective of arts organisations committed to delivering quality arts activity in partnership with patients, staff and the general public at Gartnavel Royal Hospital.

In this inaugural exhibition, art in the gart is presenting work by Marina (Gartnavel Royal Hospital), Tate House Ward and Timbury House Ward (Gartnavel Royal Hospital), the Stewart Centre and Waterside Centre.

Curated by Project Ability, the gallery showcases artwork which has a relationship to mental health and health care environments, with exhibitions recurring throughout the year.

Opening: Tuesday 22 october, 1pm - 2pm

The Hub
Gartnavel Royal Hospital
1055 Great Western Road
Glasgow G12 0XH

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Document 11 - Lennox Castle Stories

Lennox Castle Stories was screened in the CCA as part of the Document 11 International Film Festival, and we receieved some really good feedback from the audience.

Participants Marie Christie, Sadie Wright, Ian Doak, Colin Young, Marie O'Connor and Lorraine Kennedy were in the audience and got involved in the panel discussion hosted by director Kate Burton and tutor Zeynep Arman. They answered questions from the public relating to their past and present experiences, and the general feedback was really good.

Thank you to all the participants and staff involved in the making of Lennox Castle Stories, and to everybody that made it to the screening. You can watch the film online on the Lennox Castle Stories website. 

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Artwork of the Week - Drawings by Marie Christie

This week we are very pleased to bring you a selection of Marie Christie's drawings!

Marie Christie first came to Project Ability through the Lennox Castle Stories Project; a social history project led by a group of ex-residents from Lennox Castle Hospital. Marie has just completed writing her memoirs of her time in the castle, recently published into a book to be released later this year, ‘I, Myself Marie Christie’ which she also illustrated.

Marie’s modestly scaled drawings are neat and scrupulous showing the artist’s absorption in her work and suggestive of the delicate pleasures and pin pricks of
the everyday brought to life through her drawing and writing.

Marie will be taking part in a panel discussion to coincide with the screening of Lennox Castle Stories at the CCA as part of the Document 11 International Human Rights Film Festival this Saturday 19 October, 12pm - 2pm, CCA 4.

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Meet the Volunteers: Zsara McEwan

‘I heard about the position through former volunteer and artist-in-residence Ruth Ansell. I was inspired to volunteer after hearing her wonderful stories about her time at Project Ability and how it accelerated her personal and creative growth.

I recently graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University, in International Product Design, with my dissertation having a Service Design focus. I endeavour to approach my work in a user centred way, which involves working closely with end users to generate qualitative research in order to produce effective design solutions. As a result I enjoy speaking to people on an individual basis and learning about their lives, everything from their interests to their frustrations.

During my time at Project Ability I have been able to spend time getting to know an incredible group of young adults. Each week they continuously create amazing pieces of art work while chatting freely about their influences and interests. The welcoming artists provide direction and support in a fantastic open studio. Throughout the week I look forward to spending my Saturday afternoon in a creative environment, recognising the progress, hearing the stories, sharing the laughs, and supporting a variety of talented individuals in producing art work they are proud of.’
-Zsara McEwan

A big thank you from all of us, Zsara!

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Walking Group - Week 3

The Wednesday walking group were lucky with the weather again last week. There was a definite chill in the air but the rain stayed away, the sky was blue and the light was clear making it an ideal day for walking and for making photographs.

The group took a brisk walk up the High Street to the Necropolis at the rear of Glasgow Cathedral.

For some of the group this was their first visit and for everyone it was an interesting experience with several people remarking that it was a peaceful and relaxing place to be.

There were clear views from the top across the city to the hills beyond but the chill wind didn't encourage standing still for long so after some photos at the summit the group headed back down the path to base-camp at Trongate 103 to get warmed up.

See more photos on our Facebook page. 

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Screening of Lennox Castle Stories at CCA

Our film Lennox Castle Stories, directed by Project Ability film tutor Kate Burton, will be screened at the CCA as part of the Document 11 International Human Rights Film Festival.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Kate Burton, tutor Zeynep Arman, Sheryl Walker from C-Change and film participants, including Marie Christie.

Saturday 19 October, 12pm - 2pm, CCA 4

350 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3JD

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One month until our big comedy fundraiser!

Our big comedy fundraiser is in one month today! Don't wait any longer to book your tickets, only £5!

Join us and compere Patrick Rolink for an evening of fun, and you might even win one of our great raffle prizes! There will also be a pop-up Project Ability shop, where you can buy beautiful and unique objects that would make for a perfect Christmas present. 

The headliner will be the very funny Jo Jo Sutherland!

You can buy your tickets at the Project Ability reception, over the phone by calling us at 0141 552 2822, or online via the Comedy Lounge Facebook Page (scroll down to find the Project Ability event). 

We hope to see you there, all the money raised will go towards our workshop programmes. A good laugh and a good deed, you don't want to miss this event!

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 8

"My name is Thomas Dick, I'm 19 years old, I'm a green belt in shotokan karate and I like a lot of action and classic films because it helps me get better at karate. Classic films interest me because I get drawn into the story and I like the textures of black and white films.

What I like about coming to YToS is we get to watch a selection of movies, it's interesting to see a range of genres, genres that are usually outside of my interest.
I'm looking forward to our film festival, it will be interesting to see all the different kinds of films submitted.

The posters I enjoy making are often relating to an American theme. I like America and I enjoy watching American films.
(The photo above, is a work in progress for a poster design)."

And for our weekly game of Guess the Movie Star, can you guess who this Scottish actor is? (drawing by Ewan Stewart).

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Artwork of the Week - ‘So,.......Fo?’ by Gaynor Rees

This week we are very pleased to bring you 'So,.......Fo?' by Welsh based video and performance artist, Gaynor Rees as our Artwork of the Week.
This work investigates disparity and some of the issues faced by people with both seen and unseen differences as well as exploring the history of the relationship between humans and owls.

The owl is one of the oldest species of vertebrate animal in existence, with found fossils dating back 60 million years, showing this elusive bird to have changed very little throughout history. Throughout mankind, the owl has featured significantly in mythology and folklore from harbingers of sickness and death, earthly incarnations of ancient gods, to protective spirits, to the well-known ‘wise old owl'. Gaynor's 'So,.......Fo?' captures some of the reverence and qualm felt about this magnificent creature.

Don't miss this and the other great works in our Celf o Gympas showcase in the foyer space of Trongate 103, Full Circle, continues until 3 November.

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Meet the Volunteers: Janine Moffat

Once again, let us introduce you to our wonderful volunteers! This week, please meet Janine Moffat, who has been a great addition to the Saturday morning team.

‘I have recently graduated with a BA(first class) Honours in Contemporary Arts from UWS and am hoping to do a Post Grad in Art Therapy next year in 2014. I am attending an introduction to Art Therapy course in London in October to help gain more knowledge and understanding of the subject.

I have been volunteering in the Saturday Project Ability workshops for a few weeks now and it’s such a rewarding and enlightening experience. I feel so privileged to work alongside such lovely people and to work with such talented children. There is always such a positive and relaxed atmosphere and from the minute the children enter the room they’re always so enthusiastic and delighted to be there. The energy that the staff and children bring to the workshop is so amazing and it’s great to be a part of it and you can see that everyone is always very passionate about what they do.’

Thank you Janine!

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More beautiful items for our shop!

A group of Project Ability artists has been working on making new items for our shop: decorations, garlands, cards, ceramic buttons and other beautiful and unique objects, which will be on sale in our shop very shortly.

If you are looking for a quirky and unique gift, come have a look in our Trongate 103 shop! We're open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm.

Cards generously donated by Debbie Allan

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2x2 International Outsider Art Fair

From the 3rd to the 6th October Project Ability joined twenty European studios, galleries and museums for the third 2x2 International Outsider Art Fair at Kunsthaus Kannen, Munster, Germany. 

We showed drawings by Simon McAuley, Luigi Bertonesi and Marie Christie and ceramic sculptures by George Stevenson.

The 3rd annual 2x2 Art Fair was a forum for discussion and exchange, it provided the opportunity for sharing experience and giving insights into one another’s practice. There were studios and galleries from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and Hungary with Project Ability representing the UK.

On the 4th, a series of papers covered a range of topics including Art and Outsider Art, Dr Thomas Roske, Japanese Art Brut creators, Sarah Lombardi, Symbols and Script in Outsider Art, Dr Gisela Steinlechner, Works from the Kunstaus Kannen, Dr Erich Franz.

The Art Fair was well supported by the local community and collectors across Germany, and gave visitors an insight into the wide spectrum of contemporary European art that originates in the social context of art studios and galleries which give creative space to people with learning disabilities and mental ill health.

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A brood of hens in Project Ability!

Last Friday our Art Trek and Friends group took part in a one off workshop to create a brood of hens!

Everybody had a great time modelling our feathered friends in beautiful terracotta clay.  It was a very productive day with 25 chickens completed, each with their own unique characters.

Watch this space as this flock is soon to take over our shop!

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Opening of Outside In: Scotland

Thanks to everybody who made it to the Outside In: Scotland opening on Thursday 03 October, in particular to Art Angel and the Dundee folk, who came in numbers! The three artists David Ford, Una Carter and Alan Lesslie came for the occasion, accompanied by friends and families.

Thanks also to Jennifer at Outside In, and to Lea Cummings, Simon McAuley and John Fitzpatrick.

Una Carter in front of her work

Alan Lesslie in front of his work

David Ford in front of his work

Curators Simon McAuley, John Fitzpatrick and Lea Cummings


The show runs until Saturday 09 November, make sure you see it!

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 7

This is already Week 7 of our Young Talent on Screen workshops: this week will be the last one of the block. In the meantime, here is young filmmaker Owen Scullion's blog entry:

I really like making animations, working with plastercine and designing new characters for my films.
I'm drawing the movie poster for my favourite movie 'It's a wonderful life', it has a great story, Jimmy Stewart plays George Baily. George is not happy and he travels into the future and past, it has a great ending.
I really enjoy YTOS, designing posters and working with my pals. I also enjoy watching movies with the group. My favourite director is Steven Speilberg, out of all of his movies I like War Horse the best.
I'm really looking forward to putting on our film festival, meeting filmmakers and hosting Q&A's.

-Owen Scullion

Can you guess who this British actor / director and comedian is?

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Artist in residence - Nicola Henderson

Ceramic artist Nicola Henderson was our artist in residence for the month of September. She took a moment to tell us more about her work.

The residency is only a month long, which is quite a short period, how did you approach it?
One month in ceramic terms is very short, because of all the firing and drying times, so I made sure I was reasonably well prepared before I came in: I mixed the glazes I wanted to test and made small pinch pots for use as test tiles. I felt I was fairly well prepared, but of course as I started I realised there were other things I could have prepared, which would have meant I would have accomplished more. Having said that, I’m pretty happy with the amount I’ve been able to do. Extending it would be fantastic, but it’s a good exercise to have a month, it helps the artist focus on what they need to do and get on with it.

Can you talk us through what you have been working on?
I tested the glazes I'd made up, about 14 in total – some I'd used before, others were new, but even the ones I've used before needed to be tested as different kilns can give different results. The idea was to develop the 'metamorphic' open bowls I'd started to make in College, through glaze experimentation as well as the size and form. I started by making maquettes of differing shapes, which I also used to test the glazes, but ended up making some experimental, laminated forms increasing the height rather than the width - which was restricted somewhat by the size of the kiln.

You have been working with lava glazes, can you tell us more?
Lava glazes give a really textured, cratered finish through the addition of silicone carbide into the glaze. The results are dependant upon how thick or thin I've applied the glaze, as well as the type of clay they've been applied to (I've used four different types of clay). Because of the testing I usually have a good idea of the results I'm going to get from a firing, but the reality is it can still be a bit of a surprise!  Though I can re-fire work if necessary - I have one bowl where some of the volcanic glazes didn't work as they should, so I’ve applied more glaze, and it'll be re-fired for hopefully a better result.

Can you tell us about your influences?
I love rock formations. I notice them wherever I go. Rock is classified broadly into three types: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. I particularly like the irregular, undulating layers or 'banding' found in a type of metamorphic rock called 'migmatitic gneiss', which is the inspiration for the open bowls. The tall vessels are more inspired by igneous rock, as seen under the microscope, where the mineral crystals that make up the rock look mosaicked or laminated. I’m also very influenced by Ewen Henderson, a well-known ceramic artist from the 70’s and 80's. He was also inspired by geological forms, as well as primitive tribal artefacts. Through these influences I'm attempting to create earthy, organic vessels that look as if they've been plucked from a cliff face, or found during an archaelogical dig. 

Where will you go from here?
I’m particularly interested in seeing how the tall vessels turn out, because I’ve not attempted this type of making process before, and I really enjoyed it. The clay was not far off being soft leather-hard, and I haven't scored and slipped the pieces to join them, which normally you would, so there is a danger they may not survive a full firing without cracking or splitting… Next month I have a week with a Japanese ceramic artist, Shozo Michikawa. He uses a mixture of throwing, twisting and hand-building, which results in the most unusual, multi-facetted, sculptural vessels. I'm hoping I can take some influences from that week and incorporate it into the explorations I've made during the residency here, in order to develop my work.

You came here with the intention to learn more about glazing and firing, have you achieved that?
Yes I have. Had I been really fabulously prepared, I could have done a lot more with the  glaze testing, however I'm very happy with what I’ve achieved within the month. The work I have been doing here carries on from something I started during my 2nd year at Newcastle college, and which I then set aside for a while to follow different strands of interest. It was really nice to have this month to come back to it and develop it further.

What other type of work do you do?
The entire last year of College was spent making large, hand-coiled pots, using the surface decoration to express whatever happens to capture my interest during my day to day living. Inspiration can come from anywhere. The three pots I made for my Final Show in June were inspired by such disparate themes as; road potholes, professor Neil Shubin's book 'My Inner Fish', and a medieval church in the village of Muchelney, Somerset!  The outcome of this type of ceramic making stands at the other end of the scale to the organic style I've been developing here. They are large, 'in your face' things, colourful and eye-catching, not earthy and organic at all!

What are your plans for the exhibition in January?
We’ll see what I end up with at the end of the month. I hope to have one or two pieces good enough for exhibition. I really enjoyed the laminating process: the pieces are very light and consequently quite fragile – I'd like to be able to exhibit these. I want them to have more of a lichen type of finish than the volcanic look of the bowls. I'm still using the volcanic glazes on them, but I'm using less and wiping it back. I know how I want the final pieces to look, but I'm not sure they'll turn out that way!   I get very anxious about what's happening in the kiln during the final firing, when the reality is I can't do anything about it! So reigning in my expectations for the final results when I open the kiln door is part of my process to limit that anxiety: I tell myself if it comes out wrong, it's ok, I’ve learnt from it, and if it comes out great, then it’s a nice surprise!

What was it like to work in the Project Ability studios?
It's a great workspace and I've really enjoyed my time here. I love the large open-plan design and there's plenty of natural light. I’ve also really enjoyed seeing the Aspire and ReConnect groups, and have been really impressed by some of the work. It’s fantastic. And there’s a very good feel here, everybody seems to get on. I was also very impressed by the focus people have. There is friendly banter, but everybody works hard and just gets on with it. It's been a very positive experience for me.

Thank you, Nicola.
Thank you for having me!

Nicola Henderson will show her work in January alongside the other artists in residence.

All images are work in progress.

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Project Ability Christmas Cards and 2014 Calendar - Now on Sale!

Good news!  You can now purchase our fantastically festive Christmas cards to send to your loved ones. These lovely cards were created by the talent of Ruth Mutch and Pauline Jackson. Head down to our premises at Trongate 103 to grab yours, for a bargain at £5 for 10, before they sell out - it's nearly the season!

Our 2014 calendar, expertly designed by Aspire artist Edward Henry, is also now available for purchase.  This is sure to be a popular present, so grab one quick!

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Terrific at Thirty! Call out for customized logos

Project Ability is 30 in 2014!

What a fabulous achievement! To celebrate, we are putting together an epic programme of wonderful events, exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, publications, films and a film festival and throughout 2014 we want our logo to shout out Happy Birthday

This is a call-out to creative people everywhere to send us your ideas. At Christmas she has been known to wear a Santa hat, for fundraisers she has puts on her pearls, what will adorn her in 2014?

You can download our logo as a jpg file here. If you require a different kind of file, just get in touch via and we will send it to you. 

Let your creativity run wild, and send us your entry by 31st October to The best one will be used as our logo in 2014, and the lucky winner will take home an original framed print of our 'Madonna'!

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 6

During the last few weeks the Young Talent on Screen Group have been designing film posters, designing characters for promotional animations and making a ‘How to make a short film’ tutorial, which is soon to be launched! Each week the young people bring in films to share with the rest of the group. Michael Earll’s choice last time was ‘Nosferatu’ an expressionist German horror film (1922).

'I’m really looking forward to seeing the sent in entries. It would be a very interesting perspective as a group to rummage through the films, watching them and then choosing them, after a good discussion, to be featured in our festival.'
Michael Earll

As for our weekly game, can you guess who this American Movie Star is (drawing by Euan Stewart)?

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