Meet the Volunteers - Joy Bain

For this week's 'Meet the Volunteers', we would like to introduce you to Joy Bain, who has been helping out in our Aspire workshops.

‘I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 1989, with a degree in Printed Textiles and Printmaking.  For the past 20 years, I have had a studio at Wasps in Glasgow and have been a member of the Glasgow Print Studio, where I now teach woodcut. Since graduating, I have exhibited widely from London to New York, my work has  a bold graphic style is easily recognisable.
I have always admired the work produced at Project Ability and I’m very happy to be part of this organisation as a volunteer. The enthusiasm of the people involved is infectious and the work created unique and extremely individual.’

Thanks a lot Joy! And thanks to all our wonderful volunteers! We will be advertising new volunteering positions next week, so keep an eye on the website!

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Walking Group - Week 6

After last week's walk when we passed by the Templeton Business Centre, we decided to visit the Glasgow School of Art to see the Interwoven Connections exhibition which features designs that were made in the building when it was a carpet factory.

From there we went to visit the McLellan Galleries which has recently reopened and is currently showing the RGI's annual open exhibition. We spent some time there looking at the work and each of us chose a piece that we liked to show to the rest of the group.


Once again we were lucky with the weather and Glasgow was bathed in wonderful sunlight. Perfect weather for photographs.

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Cameron Morgan - The Big-i Project, Japan

Cameron Morgan's work has been selected for Big-i - the third successive international exhibition by artists with learning disabilities selected from an open call for entries in September 2013.

Cameron's work 'Coconut Palms' will be exhibited in Resonating Resonance in various venues throughout Japan, starting in Bankstown International Exchange, Osaka, 23 November - 10 December 2013.

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 5

It's already week 5 of the current Young Talent on Screen block of workshops! All the young filmmakers have been working hard making posters, animations and trailers for the Film Festival, as well as discussing films and the latest submissions.

Our guest blogger this week is Raeesah Ismail.

"I’m Raeesah Ismail and I made a poster that represents an old programme called ‘Saved by the Bell’, and I think it went well. I even put all the characters, called A.C. Slater, Zack Morris, Lisa Turtle, Jessie Spano, Screech Powers, Kelly Cepowsky, and I even put a bell right in the middle, and the colours I used were blue, green, pink, purple, orange, red and yallow. And I like how I designed it with the colours I picked myself."

If you would like to submit a film for the Festival, please click here

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Artwork of the Week - Months of the Year by Edward Henry

Edward Henry shows there is a colour and mood for every season in his suite of little paintings inspired by the months of the year. Edward’s paintings are certainly dramatic with his yellows, reds and oranges being particularly livid. His use of drawn lines makes you picture the artist drawing in premeditated movements with the application of paint suggesting a slower and more fluid process also at play.

These small paintings invite careful looking, and the slightest and most concealed marks count the most, collectively alluding to natural, ancient and divine situations.

These paintings have been made into a 2014 calendar, available to buy now in our shop!

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Cameron Morgan has started working on his Generation project

Project Ability artist Cameron Morgan is planning a mural encompassing a timeline of Scottish culture and architecture for the Generation festival, as our celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland.

Cameron, who will start work in the gallery in June 2014, is currently researching imagery and taking photos with artist Jason Davies, from bold Scottish landscapes and castles to industrial revolution architecture, all the way to the ultra modern Hydro. 

This promises to be a phenomenal work of art!

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Project Ability in Bergen, Norway

On the 13th November 2013, we were invited to Bergen, Norway to speak at a conference on delivering arts and culture for people with learning disabilities. Over 100 people with learning disabilities, artists and professionals working in education and social care attended the conference which was organised by the Bergen Kommune.

On the 12th November we were the guest of the Adviser of the Art, Culture and Mental Health Department of the Bergenhus og Årstad kulturkontor Cultural Office. In 2012, the city had launched an Art, Culture and Mental Health plan and during the day we visited a number of arts and social care projects across the city who were delivering the plan's strategy. We shared our practice, working across mental health and learning disabilities sectors and also met our friends at Gallery Vox.  In February 2013 a number of artists from Project Ability contributed to their international touring postcard exhibition.

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Simon McAuley talks about his photographic practice

Project Ability artist Simon McAuley, whose work is currently on show in Light Space, in our gallery, gave a talk about his photographic practice and his residency in Wales. 

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Comedy night: thank you all!

A big thank you from us all to everybody who made it to our Comedy Fundraiser, in partnership with the Comedy Lounge!

Thanks to you all, we raised a fantastic £825! Many artists came over for the event, and some even donated some of their work for the raffle or pop-up shop.

After the four comedy acts, our very own Murray Wilson took over the stage for the very awaited raffle! Congratulations to all the winners!

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 4

Harriet is working on a poster for the Young Talent on Screen Film Festival. She likes to incorporate her favourite characters into the poster art- such as Zoe and Mike.

Harriet is an excellent drawer and enjoys participating in the Friday film quiz.

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*TONIGHT* Comedy Night and Raffle - Don’t miss out!

The night we've all been waiting for is upon us!  Project Ability's Comedy Fundraiser will take place tonight in the Comedy Lounge at Mansion House.  We really cannot wait for what will be a fun filled evening of laughs and hi-jinks, while at the same time contributing to our cause. Doors are at 730pm, so do come along and join in the fun.  Tickets will be available at the door, so don’t panic if you haven’t picked one up yet!

Sure to be one of tonight’s numerous highlights is the raffle, which is packed with truly fantastic prizes. They are as follows:

A bundle of 4 Project Ability Tea Towels, designed by our talented Create artists; 2 bottles of wine (hurray!);  A bundle of Project Ability books and a calendar designed by Edward Henry; a pack of quality A3 sketchbooks, donated by W.Enterprises; Afternoon tea for two at the Butterfly and the Pig Tearooms; A lovely Lesley Nimmo drawing; 8 movie tickets to Cineworld Glasgow; 8 tickets to Jongleurs Comedy Showcase at the Comedy Club; A generous £50 worth of vouchers to spend on art materials at Great Art; A family ticket to Dick McWittington at SECC with John Barrowman and the Krankies.

Perhaps the star prize of the evening is TWO stunning original paintings by Simon McAuley; this is an exceptional prize, and whoever has their ticket pulled out of the hat for this one will no doubt be the envy of the event. We are eternally grateful to Simon for his kindness in donating these beautiful works of art.

Good luck, all! 

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Light Space opening

Thank you to everybody who made it to Simon McAuley's opening of Light Space, and to his artist talk. 

Many thanks to Simon for a very interesting talk (available to view online soon) and a wonderful show!

The show runs until Saturday 23 November, 5pm.

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Meet the Volunteers: Kevin Morris

This week, we would like to introduce you to our wonderful volunteer Kevin Morris, who has been working with our Aspire group.

‘Working at Project Ability has been both a rewarding and positive experience, being able to meet and work with a range of talented groups, artists and staff has been truly inspiring. Having had previous experience of teaching and working with groups of various abilities, Project Ability has been a perfect opportunity to build on, develop and learn new skills in a creative and comfortable environment that everyone is part of and contributes to. I feel privileged and very grateful to be a part of this and look forward to spending more time with everyone involved.

Since graduating from The Glasgow School of Art in 2010 I have been predominantly working in ceramics, pursuing  my own practice as well as working with others. I try to approach my work in an experimental way reacting to material and process as well as the landscape I find myself in. I am open to embracing new techniques in my work and value opportunities to pass on these skills as well as learn and work with other people.’

Thank you Kevin!

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Walking Group - Week 5

For last week's walk, the group started off with a stroll to the Barras. Most of us hadn't been there on a non-market day before so found it to be a completely different experience to be there when it is virtually deserted.

From there we walked across to the Templeton building on the edge of Glasgow Green and then along to look at some interesting old buildings on Greenhead Street before heading back to base through the Green.

Another interesting walk with lots to see.

For more photos, please visit our Facebook Page. 

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 3

Our young filmmakers have been working hard! Last week, Owen and Peter worked on an animation film to advertise the festival, and TJ finished his poster for The Place Beyond the Pines. Here is what he had to say about it: 

"The Place Beyond the Pines is about a biker performer, Luke Glanton who by coincidence finds out that he has a son called Jason from his former partner Rogue so in order to help his son he goes to rob banks to find enough money for Rogue and Jason. Then there's a second story about a rookie cop called Avery Cross who does anything in his power to find the criminal people want in his town.

The poster which I designed was an idea I got from the poster illustrator known as Saul Bass who created a strong style of film posters for the 50s and 60s."
-TJ Matheson


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Project Ability attended the Generation launch

Project Ability attended the Generation launch on Thursday 7 November at Tramway with Cameron Morgan.

Cameron has been attending Project Ability since 1991 and he will create an expansive mural in the gallery as our celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. Cameron is planning a mural encompassing a timeline Scottish culture and architecture from the early 20th century to present day; from the humbler days of the trams, through to the ever-sprawling riverside regeneration including the ultramodern Hydro.

100 artists will exhibit their work in various venues across the country everywhere from Orkney to Dumfries as part of a major celebration of contemporary art in Scotland and this number is continuing to grow.
Generation will run from March to November 2014 alongside Glasgow’s 2014 cultural programme celebrating Scotland as host of the Commonwealth Games. Generation will be delivered through a partnership between the National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland.

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Witches and Wicked Bodies

31st of October was the ideal day for a group of ReConnect artists to visit Edinburgh to see 'Witches and Wicked Bodies' at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

This exhibition of artworks, spanning more than 500 years, by artists from Albrecht Dürer to Cindy Sherman by way of Goya, Blake and many others gave a fascinating insight into the depiction of witches and the beliefs and superstitions surrounding ideas of them.

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Artwork of the Week - Untitled by Simon McAuley

We thought we would give you a sneak peek of a work from our forthcoming exhibition, 'Light Space' by Simon McAuley as our Artwork of the Week!

This is one of Simon's new paintings, a series that he has been working on throughout 2013 and shows the artist's ongoing investigation into colour, brushwork and materiality in painting.

We can't wait to show you more of these beautiful works, so please join us on Wednesday 13 November 1-3pm, Project Ability Gallery, for the opening event and hear Simon give a short presentation of his work.  

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Meet the Volunteers: Kirstie Forbes

New 'Meet the Volunteers'! This week, let us introduce you to the delightful Kirstie Forbes, who has been helping out in our Saturday Visual Arts Classes.

‘Saturday is always the highlight of my week. To spend an afternoon a week in such a positive environment which has such a strong creative energy is so refreshing and uplifting.  Hearing everyone's weekly stories and how they choose to express this through different mediums is really exciting to me and we all have so much fun in the process.

I have just graduated from GSA's Fine Art Photography department in which I was predominantly a film maker, My work centres around positivity and how we view things, my way of thinking seems very at home at Project Ability, which simply put, is Great!’

Thank you Kirstie!

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Artist in Residence October 2013 - Linda Mahoney

Our last artist in residence this year is recent graduate Linda Mahoney. Here she tells us about her work and her experience at project Ability

You have been here for nearly a month, can you tell us more about what you have been up to?
First of all, before starting, I did quite a lot of work researching into the ideas that I had initially proposed (Linda proposed to explore existential philosophical ideas about the construction of ‘self’, and the prescriptive contemporary meanings of ‘self’ and from this research to explore ways in which people can deconstruct prejudiced attitudes.) Of course, when you look into existentialism, it is absolutely enormous, so I focused on Jean-Paul Sartre: he was looking at the self as an authentic being, and that we should endeavour to be authentic in ourselves and to others. It’s quite a humanist take on things, which I like. From that point, I started looking at the wider context of the self, in terms of the social and psychological things going on in the world. Those issues have always been part of my practice, looking at prejudice and how we are socially constructed. I started to look at some imagery, and tried not to get too caught up in my research but to actually start making work.  Prejudiced attitudes to me are socially constructed mainly through the transmission of ideas from society, parents, culture and the mass media.

Research can take over sometimes, especially with such a vast subject.
Yes, research has always been one of my strengths, but I sometimes get caught up in it for too long, so it takes up too much time.  So this time I knew I had the ideas, the imagery, so with some research done, I just got on with it and made work. I looked at the connections between the self and the outer world, which I see as quite broken:  how we are breaking the planet with global warming for instance. I looked at this as a reflection of how we as a species and culture are also a bit broken. I looked at imagery of breaking, fragmenting, and cracking, that was my starting point.

From that, looking at your drawings and prints, some abstract shapes are emerging.
Yes, I wanted to loosen up with these drawings. I started looking at the San Andreas Fault line, this big crack in the earth. Although it’s a natural phenomenon, I really liked the imagery, it really inspired me, so I transferred this fragmentary shape into my drawings and prints. I really wanted to use drawing as part of my working process in order to see where it could take me.


It seems that you started with the self, but you then went a lot more outward looking, though still self-reflective.
Yes, still looking at the idea of self, while reflecting on the wider picture. For instance, I have been looking at breaking, cracking and fragmenting as a metaphor for the self and the world being broken.  Looking at images of the broken planet as a metaphor for how the human condition is a bit broken.  There is a broken building outside, being smashed down, and I find it fascinating, as it really connects with my theme. Seeing this building come down, you see deconstructed lives, rooms, and time. I couldn’t help myself and had to play with that imagery. 

Have you been working with dry-point?
I began with some dry-point and then went on to use waterless lithography. It’s touch and go, and can be very frustrating, but I love it. I did an etching class at the Print Studios in parallel with the residency, and made some work there. It went hand in hand with the residency.

You graduated in June. How was it to go on to being in residence here?
It was really good, because when you come out, you ‘enter the abyss’. You’re in the real world… So to be invited to do this residency was fantastic, it gave me a goal. I was thrilled to do it.

Have you had much interactions with the artists here?
Yes, I got to know folk. I invited people to look at the work, and had very positive feedback. It’s been great, meeting people and getting an input from them. It’s also been great to see the work they are doing like the pet portraits.

What are your plans for the exhibition?
I shall be exhibiting some prints and some sculpture.

What are your plans after the residency?
I will continue to develop my working practice while developing my skills in printmaking, sculpture and other media.  I’ll also be applying for residencies and opportunities for exhibiting my work and working with other people and groups.  I am also interested in doing some workshops and teaching, and possibly some voluntary work.  I am really into what I am doing at the moment, and where it’s going. I started off in quite a different place from where I have ended up.   Focussing on ideas of the self and prejudiced attitudes, as well as existentialism was a great starting point for my work, quite different from the wider metaphor and this worldly theme, but for me it’s all connected, and I can really see it come together. I will definitely carry on with the themes of this work.

Linda's work will be exhibited in the project Ability gallery in January 2014, alongside the other artists in residence. 

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Lea Cummings in conversation about Outside In: Scotland

Project Ability artist Lea Cummings tells us more about the Outside In: Scotland project and his participation in it. 

Outside In: Scotland runs until Saturday 09 November (open til 8pm on Thursday 07 November).

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New Culture Label shop

Our collaboration with Culture Label has evolved: we are now part of the Scottish Collection, which showcases works from 20 Scottish organisations.

"In an exclusive partnership with Creative Scotland, CultureLabel launches The Scottish Collection featuring a highly curated selection of original and limited edition contemporary artwork from 20 of Scotland's leading art galleries - all soon to be available to purchase using Own Art Online."

We have selected 10 artworks by Project Ability artists, including Lesley Nimmo, Cameron Morgan, Simon McAuley, and will upload new works regularly.

Click here to view our shop. 

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Young Talent on Screen - Andy Scott

Our guest blogger this week is Andy Scott, who has been working on a promotional song for our Young Talent on Screen Film Festival.

"I am a filmmaker at Project Ability, I like to make art work, I do stand up comedy.
Tonight we've got everyone working In groups, writing songs to promote the festival, drawing posters, talking about film ideas. I am composing a song about Project Ability film festival, Thomas is writing the lyrics, the song is going to be pretty good."

If you want to submit a short film to the Young Talent on Screen Film Festival, just download the application form and send it back to us before 10 January. More information here

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Comedy Night Raffle Prize - Family Ticket to the Christmas Panto at the SECC!

That's right! One of the raffle prizes on offer at our fundraising Comedy Night extravaganza is a family ticket to see this year's Christmas pantomime at the Clyde Auditorium.  This year, John Barrowman starts in Dick McWhittington - this is sure to be an excellent show for family and friends, and we're delighted to be able to offer it as a prize.

Also on the growing prize list is afternoon tea for two at the Butterfly and the Pig, 8 tickets for Jongleurs Comedy Club, and two original artworks kindly donated by two very talented Project Ability artists. These are just some of the goodies which will be up for grabs on the 14th of November at our fundraising Comedy Night, so make sure you get your ticket now! 

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