Walking Group special outing - barge trip on the canal

The walking group had lovely treat last week as Glasgow Sculpture Studios had invited us for a barge trip along the canal.

The weather was glorious and we had a lovely relaxing trip, watching the world go by.

The next outing will be tomorrow, with the group heading to Kilmarnock for the Gerard Richter exhibition. 

Photos by Celine, Michael and Stuart. More photos on our Facebook profile.

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Friends and Family Film Programme

As part of our Friends and Family Fun Programme, we are offering an exciting week long opportunity for children and young people with disabilities and their families to come along and make their very own short film! Have a go at live action or animation and take home your finished film!

Date: Monday 13th - Friday 17th October
Time: 10am-12pm
Cost: £25 per group for all five sessions

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

To book a place, please contact us on 0141 552 2822

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Danny & Sandy’ by Gerard Deighan

This week, Gerard Deighan's depiction of high school sweethearts Danny and Sandy from the movie Grease is our Artwork of the Week.  Gerard's painting was created only this week in the Aspire workshop, and instantly caused a stir!  Well done to Gerard and we look forward to seeing what other gems he will create over the coming months. 

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Meet the Volunteers - Silvia Osenda

Please, meet Silvia Osenda, an amazing Italian student and artist who spent the last three months at Project Ability, assisting tutors and artists in our different programmes.

"I’m Silvia, a psychology student and jewellery artist from Turin and I came to Project Ability the 28th of June for a three month placement.

Since that day,  I have participated in lots of different activities: I arrived in time for the last two weeks of the Aspire summer workshops, then in July I had the chance to assist the ReConnect group  three times a week : they are such great artists ! I spent a week involved in a very interesting film workshop with teenagers, I had the opportunity to get to know Glasgow and its artists along with the walking group, and since the beginning of August I immersed myself into the wonderful world that is the Aspire programme.

It is now the end of September and it’s time for me to go back home… It’s so difficult to sum up or explain my experience, because I participated in so many different programmes. Each group and each artist needed a different kind of support, and they all taught me different  things.

I came to Project Ability because I was looking for an artistic opportunity to observe  and learn. I couldn’t have imagined a space so well equipped. I also had the chance to assist most of the tutors in the different programmes, and every one of them was so inspiring, with their energy, their gentlness and sensitivity, their patience and technique.

Mostly, what I learnt from the tutors is an enormous respect for every single decision made by the people they work with: what direction the artwork should take, colours and techniques.

Many thanks to all the artists because I’m coming back home with a backpack full of inspiration! And thank you to everyone in the staff who has always made me feel at home with their smiles!"

Thank you for everything Silvia!

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Blogger wanted!

Project Ability is looking for an experienced blogger to work with a group of artists to help them build up their digital profile.

There are a wide range of skills and experiences in the group from those completely in tune with digital media to others who are complete digital novices; all are united in wanting their artwork to be seen by a worldwide audience.

Brief: Create a clean, accessible, visually exciting blog template which communicates the interests of a community of dedicated visual artists. 

Help people overcome their technophobia.

Demonstrate step-by-step and one-by-one:
• How to use WordPress and how to define its look and feel, and use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to spread their work with likeminded online communities.
• How to publish text, images and multimedia.
• How to edit from any computer or smartphone.

Essential skills:
• Must know how to use Wordpress, Photoshop and an SLR camera
• Creative
• Experience of working on digital campaigns
• An understanding of mental health issues.
• An ability to engage with people
• An excellent communicator
• An ability to listen and respect the opinions of others

Fee: £2000 for 25 days work.  Must be available most Thursdays and Fridays from now to the end of the year.

Send a letter outlining your interest and your c.v. to submissions@project-ability.co.uk

Closing date: Friday 10th October 2014.

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Walking Group - Week 16

Some of the recent walking group outings have been quite easy going but not so last week.

After a fairly brisk walk through town, via George Square where there was lots of pre-referendum activity, we arrived in Hill Street where we met with George, an independent art historian and our tour guide for the afternoon.

What followed was an informative and interesting walk around the Garnethill and Blythswood Hill areas looking at buildings and sites that have connections to Glasgow's artistic past. These were buildings that were previously either the homes or studios of artists, mansions of wealthy collectors or galleries where work was displayed.

George was a hive of information and had lots of images of maps and drawings that showed what some of the places looked like in the past, such as images of Sauchiehall Street when it was lined with mansions and trees.

The tour was part of the Glasgow Open Doors Festival.

(Photos by Celine, Stuart and William)

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Celf artists - work in progress

Now in their third week of residency, the Celf O Gwmpas artists are busy making work and trying new techniques. While Dean Warburton and Ceridwen Powell have now gone back to Wales, Jan Butler, Marion Fletcher and Gaynor Rees are still with us until the end of the week. 

Jan Butler is very inspired by bees, in particular the solitary bee, who makes a small nest out of flower petals. She has been collecting info about bees, and started making small nests with found petals. She then moved on to bigger ones in felt. This week, she is experimenting with pate de verre with volunteer Mark Brogan, and intends to make new nests with the material. The work focusses on the notion of a home for everybody.

Gaynor Rees's work engages with ideas of ability and disability. Last week, she stood in George Square dressed as an owl, with a sign saying "What is Dyslexia, ADHD, Irlen Syndrom, Dyspraxia?", and encouraged passers by to interact with her and give their opinion or experience of the conditions. She has also carved three owls in clay, the first one covering its eyes, the second its ears and the last its mouth. She is currently learning new glass techniques with Mark, making Braille sculptures. People will be invited to interact with the pieces and find out what they mean.

Marion Fletcher's work focusses on things that she is no longer physicaly able to do. One of her pieces will be a short stop motion film of two people walking up the steps of Kelvingrove museum - a place she has walked herself in the past- with a drawing of herself incrusted in the image. Another piece will include an open mouth with an eye in it, a clear reference to her sometimes slurred speech and difficulty to find words to express herself: "The eye says it all". The last piece she has been working on is a ceramic sculpture titled Hanging on of her foot emerging and transforming into a gripping hand.

The work, along with Dean Warburton's hat sculptures and Ceridwen Powell's paintings will be exhibited in our Research Exhibition Space from the 2nd October.

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Friends and Family Fun Workshops - Instrument Making

Saturday's Friends and Family Fun workshop was once again a great moment of creative fun!

Participants were invited to make their own musical instruments from varied everyday objects, including cans, plastic bottles, spoons or cardboard. 

The results were brilliant, and participants took their new original instruments home with them for, we hope, a fun music session!

The next Friends and Family Fun workshops will take place on Saturday 25th October.

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Project Ability and The Bluebells!

What a night it was! We would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to The Bluebells and to Monorail Music for inviting us to be a part of the band's album launch last night. 

Project Ability artists Lesley Nimmo and Doreen Kay created original artworks for the occasion: a large painting by Lesley, used as the stage backdrop, and text and portraits by Doreen, who has been a great fan of the band for years.

The people attending the launch very generously donated just over £300 to our organisation, and the band made sure Doreen had the time of her life: not only was she invited on stage to receive Ken McCluskey's whistle from the man himself, but she sang the chorus of Young at Heart too! 

Thank you all!

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Butterfly Silk’ by Erin McKay

This week 'Butterfly Silk' by Erin McKay is our Artwork of the Week. We think this piece is a fine example of the quality of work which comes out of our Create workshops - colourful, bold, and evocative.

Remember, you can see this and a plethora of other fine works by these talented young artists in our current exhibition Young Talent! which runs until the 18th of October.  Don't miss it - it's a good one!

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Focus on Jonathan McKinstry

Aspire artist Jonathan McKinstry has had a very busy few weeks: not only does he have two large paintings exhibited in Platform, he also designed one of our Christmas cards for this year, and is working towards his own solo showcase in November.

Jonathan is currently making large paintings of places he has been to or that inspire him, which include Edinburgh zoo, Ireland and Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars!

His work will be on show from the 22nd October in our gallery. 

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Artist talk - Dean Warburton

Dean Warburton is one of the five Welsh artists currently in residence at Project Ability. He will be giving a talk about his practice on Friday 19th September at 1pm.

This event is open to everybody and is free.

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Friends and Family Fun Workshop - Musical Instruments

The next Friends and Family Fun Workshop will be Musical Instruments on Saturday 20th September.

Like music, love art? Come along to our musical instrument making workshop and have a go at producing your own one-off instrument with a unique sound and look. Our tutors will show you how to turn everyday objects like beads, buttons, cardboard and elastic bands into an orchestra of sound.

These classes provide the opportunity for children and young people with disabilities and their friends and families to participate in an exciting programme of visual arts activities. What's more you can take away a goody bag of ideas and materials to help you continue structured arts activities at home.
All young people must be accompanied by an adult.

Places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis, we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

Date- Saturday 20th September 2014
Time- 11:00-12:30
Cost- £5 per group
Please contact us on 0141 552 2822 to secure your place.

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Project Ability will be part of the Bluebells album launch!

We are delighted to announce that we will be part of the Bluebells retrospective album launch at Mono on Sunday 21st September!

The band and Monorail have asked Project Ability to provide a backdrop for the stage. Two Project Ability artists have been selected: Lesley Nimmo and Bluebells super fan Doreen Kay, who produced the short animation film Young at Heart as an hommage to the band a few years ago. There will be a little Project Ability shop at the entrance, and since this unmissable event is free, any donations to Project Ability will be greatly appreciated!

Here is what Monorail wrote about the event:

"One of our favourite records of the summer has been The Bluebells retrospective, Exile On Twee Street, Songs From Glasgow 1980-1982. Pre-dating their hit singles, Exile re-connects the group to a world of Postcard, Bill Forsyth and The Hellfire Club, which like Orange Juice's Ostrich Churchyard, is where most of these recordings were made. Glasgow in 1980 was a city under transformation, still rough around the edges, not quite gentrified. Musically things were starting to move on from punk and The Bluebells were right in the drift, eyes on the chance, songs in pocket, an important and friendly presence.

Now back together, and featuring the incredible James Kirk on guitar, we're really excited to present a launch party for the vinyl edition of Exile. The group will be performing many of the songs from the album and some of their hits too. DJs are Jim Lambie and Stephen Pastel. The group will be available to sign records, cds and posters.

8pm sharp.  Free. Unmissable."

Mono / Monorail Music
12 Kings Court
King Street
G1 5RB

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Welsh artists from Celf O Gwmpas in residence at Project Ability

Five artists from the Welsh organisation Celf O Gwmpas are in residency with Project Ability for three weeks.

Jan Butler, Marion Fletcher, Ceridwen Powell, Dean Warburton and Gaynor Rees are currently working on their own projects in our ReConnect studios. The artists have been involved with Project Ability before, and saw their work exhibited in Full Circle in the Trongate 103 Foyer in October last year.

Here are some of images of their work in progress. 

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Boat’ by Scott Smith

Our Artwork of the Week is 'Boat', acrylic on canvas by Scott Smith! We love how the artist has worked up a frothy sea of bubbles with lots of painted dots and dribbles and a sumptuous blue background for the boat to sail through. 

Scott's work is currently on show at our Platform exhibition Aspire @ Platform and continues until 25 October. Don't miss it!

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Walking Group - Week 15

The walking group didn't travel too far afield last week, as we had arranged a guided tour of Glasgow City Chambers on George Square. Most of the group hadn't been inside the building before so it was an interesting eye opener. Our tour guide George was full of information about the building and its history, and took us into several of the rooms that were available for viewing. Unfortunately there were some areas that we couldn't visit as they had functions going on but there was still plenty to see.

We particularly enjoyed the gallery of portraits of previous Lord Provosts; especially Peter Howson's striking portrait of Pat Lally.

Guided tours take place at 10:30am and 2:30pm on weekdays or you can book a group tour during other times (as we did) by phoning the duty manager on 0141 287 4018. More information can be found at https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3550

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Flowers of the Commonwealth Exhibition

Project Ability participants and school pupils from the length and breadth of the country helped us to celebrate the opening of our Flowers of the Commonwealth Exhibition yesterday at Trongate 103.  Visitors travelling from as far as Arbroath enjoyed the excitement and atmosphere as the Trongate 103 foyer space was transformed into a wonderful world of floral creations, inspired by the national flowers of the Commonwealth countries and territories.  The group were treated to a delight for the senses with a dramatic storytelling performance filled with colour, sound, textures and smells.

The exhibition will be running until the 27th of September, so come on down and enjoy this ray of sunshine in a rather drizzly Glasgow!

Funded by the National Lottery through the Celebrate programme.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Shades’ by Nieves Milligan

'Shades' by Create artist Nieves Milligan is our Artwork of the Week. This is a mysterious and engaging work, and well worthy of exhibition; good thing that it has been included in our Young Talent! exhibition, opening Thursday the 4th of September at 6pm. Do come along and see what other masterpieces the young artists have created this year. 

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New items in our shop!

We have a great selection of new items in our gallery shop, just in time for tomorrow's openings of Young Talent! and Flowers of the Commonwealth! 

The ceramic items include some flowery tiles, an Irn Bru bottle and can, puffins, westies, and a village of tea-lights holders.

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Lea Cummings talks about his exhibition at the Southbank Centre

ReConnect artist Lea Cummings talks about his practice and his exhibition Cosmic Fields of Endless Possibilities at the Southbank Centre, as part of the Unlimited Festival. 

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Free Visual Arts Workshops in a venue near you!

Project Ability has received funding from the Scottish Government to invite people with learning disabilities, the length and breadth of Scotland, to take part in a programme of visual art workshops!

An arts team from Project Ability, a professional artist and a leading learning disability artist, will come to a venue of your choosing; it can be your centre, club or home and deliver a visual arts workshop individually tailored to meet your needs.  The workshop will last between 1 ½ and 2 hours.

Taking part is good for you! Learn new skills, meet new people and be part of a Scotland-wide creative programme.

You can choose from two workshops:
1. Handmade books – using a variety of techniques which could include stitching, binding, marbling at the end of the workshop you will have made a beautiful book
2. Textiles – we can deliver a wide range of workshops including fabric printing, cushions, wall hangings, bags.

We will bring the materials and deliver a workshop for up to 6 people. The work is yours to keep. We will photograph it and post it on the online project blog. Over the next twelve months the blog will record and map the creative achievements of Scotland’s learning disability community.

If you want to take part, would like more information, or want to book a workshop contact:
Elisabeth Gibson, Director, Project Ability
Email: director@project-ability.co.uk
Tel: 0141 552 2822

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Friends and Family Fun Workshops - Ceramic Whistles

Our latest Friends and Family Fun Workshop was a great success! Young artists and their families tried their hand at making animal shaped whistles out of clay. The whistles will then be fired and collected at a later date, and we will make sure to post some photos of the finished items.

The next Friends and Family Fun Workshop will be on Saturday 20th September.

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International Summit - Call for Artists

The summit is a space for artists with learning disabilities to show their work and tell their stories. 

Where: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
The Summit takes place in Project Ability’s gallery and studio and throughout Trongate 103; a centre for arts and creativity in the heart of Glasgow’s vibrant arts community. 

When: 4th – 6th March 2015.
Project Ability are inviting world class artists with learning disabilities and their support studios to come to Glasgow in March 2015 to exhibit, share artistic practice, network with peers and celebrate their achievements

Who: Ten international studios will be selected, each studio represented by two artists with learning disabilities and two key personnel such as the studio’s CEO, Artistic Director, Lead Artist, Curator, Development Manager.

How: Each invited studio will be given an individual exhibition space approx.  5 x 5 metres - install your exhibition on the morning of the 4th.  The Summit opens for business at noon Wednesday 4th March 2015, followed by three days and nights of talks, workshops, discussion, exhibitions, screenings and socialising.

Project Ability with support from Creative Scotland can provide participants with accommodation for the duration of the event, lunch, dinner and exhibition costs.


Purpose: Project Ability considers the artists we work with are the experts in determining their artistic development and progress in the arts world. 

Led by Project Ability, taking place at Trongate 103 and bringing together the most exciting and progressive artists with learning disabilities and their support studios working today, the Summit will bring together artists and studios; people who are working at the highest level creatively, ethically and innovatively to celebrate and share ideas, discuss and bench-mark quality, exchange knowledge and provide opportunities for networking, peer support and peer learning.  
The most successful element of any conference and event is the opportunity to meet peers, share practice and celebrate achievement – it’s the “chatter” that takes place over lunch and tea.  The summit boldly cuts out the keynotes – the artists are the experts and the 3 day event is built around supporting them to exhibit work and share practice; where artists and professionals can learn from each other.
We will capture the event on film, in images and text. We will share information across arts and disability arts networks digitally and through social networking platforms to build an online resource.

 Are you interested in being involved?  In the first instance Project Ability invites Studios to submit an expression of interest by the 30th September 2014. 

1. Briefly outline the Studios key achievements, history and goals over the next three years (no more than 500 words) and send up to 10 images.

2. Select two artists representative of the artists working in your studio and supply their c.v.’s and 5 images each.  We know a hundred and one things can make it difficult for people with learning disabilities to travel and these artists might not be the ones who attend the Summit.  If you are selected we ask you to involve two artists with a defined practice, who can share their work, who would engage in the Summit and enjoy the experience.

Send to: submissions@project-ability.co.uk

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