Shop Item of the Week - ‘Wintercoat Fox’ by Scott Smith


For this week our Shop Item of the Week is the lovely original work 'Wintercoat Fox' by the prolific and talented Scott Smith. Priced at only £5, this miniature masterpiece represents quite the bargain! 

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Artwork of the Week - Portraits by Rehan Yousuf

This week we are very pleased to bring you four little portrait sketches by Aspire artist Rehan Yousuf. There is something fascinating about the loose nature of Rehan’s drawings and the characters and complex combinations that he creates through his technique.

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ReConnect publication launch

This November, Project Ability is pleased to present a new publication featuring new and historic works by our ReConnect artists also featuring texts and commentary on the programme.

This publication celebrates ReConnect and the achievements of its artists who have been integral to the programme's development over the past few years. Featuring work by Alan Moore, Billi Love, Carole Lee, David Bradley, Dibby Sim, Eileen Davie, Esme Macleod, Evelyn Sommerville, Ian Cochrane, James Smith, Jan Thomson, Jane Fisher, Jim Feeney, Johanna Gray, Julie Boyce, Lea Cummings, Liana McPherson, Linda Tulloch, Liz Flannigan, Malcolm McIntyre, Margaret McInnes, Martin Sumner, Morag Macgilchrist, Norrie Berry, Patrick Butterworth, Paul McGregor, Peter Stewart, Ruth Mutch, Simon McAuley and Stuart Low.

ReConnect is a studio based visual arts workshop for adults with a lived experience of mental ill health and today exists as the result of a very determined and committed group of artists who are supporting Project Ability to find a sustainable future for the programme. We hope that ReConnect can continue to provide more opportunities and a rich programme of workshops, exhibitions and events to further realise and support the role of the arts in mental ill health recovery and improved emotional health and well-being for more people.

All the money raised during our big Christmas fundraiser will go towards the ReConnect programme. 

ReConnect publication launch
Thursday 6th November, 6pm-8pm
Project Ability Gallery

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Meet the Volunteers - Fran Gordon

This week, please meet Fran Gordon, a wonderful artist who is volunteering with our Aspire group.

'I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in June, and have since been working, volunteering, assisting with workshops and building on my practice as a visual artist in Glasgow. I was delighted to be awarded two residencies after graduating; a graduate residency at Hospitalfield Arts in Arbroath with eleven other recent graduates from Scottish art schools, and also at MANY Studios in the merchant city, where I have a studio with three other recent graduates, as part of their graduate residency programme.

I came to Project Ability not long after graduating and was immediately welcomed into the warmth of the community and productivity happening within the studios. I have been inspired by the enthusiasm for making art from both the staff and the artists here. Seeing directly how much the artists gain from making work has really shown me the importance of tutoring; from demonstrating different techniques to being supportive and encouraging of the works the artists are making. It has been a real pleasure to be able to impart my skills to help the artists with their individual ideas and works; I too have learnt so much from their practices. A real highlight for me has been seeing how much each artist has progressed over the eight-week programme, which has been a privilege to see unfold.

I have learnt so much from the fantastic staff, who each have their own bank of knowledge, experience and way of communicating ideas, skills and support to the artists. The opportunity for artists to be a part of this rich artistic community at Project Ability, to be given support, access to excellent materials and the encouragement from both staff and peers, is invaluable.

Volunteering with the Aspire programme at Project Ability has been a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience. It is a delight to be welcomed into the Project Ability community and to be able to support fellow artists.'

Thank you Fran! 

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Ghost Orchid

In October we held a week-long film workshop as part of the Friends and Family Film programme. Here is 'Ghost Orchid', produced by Thomas Dick and Cailean Stillie.

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Friends and Family Fun Workshop - Puppets

Our penultimate Friends and Family Fun workshop took place on Saturday 25th October, and was all about puppets! 

Young artists and their families created their own puppets out of found objects, wood, cardboard and fabric.

The next Friends and Family Fun workshop will be our last, as our funding is ending, so we'll make sure to make it extra fun! Saturday 29th November (more information soon).

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Untitled’ by Jonathan McKinstry

This week, we are very pleased to bring you this new painting by Jonathan McKinstry, currently on show in our gallery as part of the Solo Showcase season.

Jonathan has amalgamated various trips to Ireland in one painting and attempts to capture the enjoyment he found roaming the countryside landscape on these visits. He also mentions that the painting method is an imitation of the instructive painting tutorials of Bob Ross and his wet-on-wet oil technique.

Jonathan's exhibition continues until Saturday 1 November, open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5pm. Don't miss it!

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Walking Group - Week 18

Our walking group had a special outing last Wednesday. Paths for All, who fund the group, provided transport to Catkin Braes and organised a walk for the group to make photos for a competition run by The Evening Times.

The subject of the competition is ‘Commonwealth woods’ and we have just heard that at least one of the photos has been shortlisted - but as yet we’re not sure how many or which one! We should find out next week so will keep you posted.

In the meantime, you can look at some of the photos that the group made and see all the competition entries here  

More images on our Facebook profile.

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Project Ability is in Melbourne for a major Outsider Art conference

Project Ability is in Melbourne, Australia! Our Director will speak at the Contemporary Outsider Art: The Global Context conference, taking place from 23rd - 26th October, alongside artist and Project Ability friend Tanya Raabe.

"Forty years after the term ‘Outsider art’ was coined by Roger Cardinal to encompass works by untrained artists who work outside the established art world, new paradigms and definitions are being sought. The current enthusiasm for these forms of expression culminated in Massimiliano Gioni’s 2013 Venice Biennale, which dedicated several exhibits to self-taught or Outsider artists. Reviewing the Biennale in Art and America, Travis Jeppesen wrote ‘the success of Gioni’s bold production signals a move beyond ‘the contemporary’ as the default category we have relied upon for far too long’. Such comments demonstrate the timeliness of this topic and the potential for this conference to contribute to and enrich our understanding of contemporary culture at the broadest level.

The increased interest in Outsider art, however, has also raised a number of significant questions in response to which Contemporary Outsider Art: The Global Context proposes an inter-disciplinary exploration of the field, drawing on the experience and knowledge of Australian and international artists, collectors, curators and scholars. The conference comprises keynote addresses, sessions of 30-minute papers and round table discussions where presenters from different disciplines and backgrounds will engage with the topics relating to the three major themes of the conference:

// The Practices of Outsider Artists
// Collections of Outsider Art and Curated Exhibitions
// Outsider Art History and Theory"

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Friends and Family Fun Workshops - Puppet Making

The next Friends and Family Fun workshops will be Puppet Making on Saturday 25th October.

Work with our artists to create string puppets from a collection of arts materials and recycled objects. Upcycle plastic bottles and cardboard packaging and repurpose old household items to bring your puppet to life!

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 25th October 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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Meet the Volunteers - Nicola Prosser

Another week and another amazing volunteer! Please meet the multi-talented Nicola Prosser, who is currently volunteering with our Aspire group. 

‘Having graduated in 2013 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design with an honours degree in Illustration, I have continued to seek out further experience in the creative sector to continue my artistic development. I am currently employed in a graphic design studio where my work includes print design, filming and editing, public art concepts and schools workshops. My own practice draws inspiration from my interest in history.

I am always interested in seeking out new skills and experiences, and since graduating I have explored crafts, alternative printmaking and have attended pottery throwing classes at the Glasgow Ceramics Studio.

I have always admired the work done by Project Ability and the artists they support and strongly believe in the values they encourage. I was drawn to volunteer as I wanted to be a part of such a wonderful organisation and help support fellow artists.

I was thrilled to discover the wealth of materials and practices available in the beautiful Project Ability studio space and I was especially excited to see an excellent printmaking area. Printing has been a main focus in my own work and I have greatly enjoyed sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with the other artists. In the next block of workshops I am looking forward to trying out more printmaking techniques.

The opportunity to watch and learn from such talented tutors has also been a privilege. With so many different creative minds together in one space, all working in contrasting and complementary ways, the tutors never fail to have ideas and suggestions for new artistic directions. The support they offer, both to the artists and the volunteers, is invaluable.

Everyone attending the workshops has their own unique talents and interests. In getting to know each artist and how they work, I have been given a great opportunity to learn from them. They have taught me so many new skills, from using felting machines to hand building ceramics. I have found that being in such an uplifting environment is greatly beneficial for everyone involved and I always leave feeling inspired. It is magical to be able to watch so many people take so much joy from their own art or craft.

I have found this to be an eye opening experience and one that is incredibly rewarding. I have really enjoyed getting to know the artists and tutors and I feel at home as part of the Project Ability community.’

Many thanks Nicola!

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ReConnect 16-19

Project Ability are offering a new visual arts opportunity for young adults aged 16-19 with a lived experience of mental ill health.

Our professional arts team will support you in engaging in the visual arts through a programme of structured workshops and activities and access to a professional studio environment.  The programme will run until June 2015 with the opportunity for everyone taking part to display work in the final public exhibition and in the accompanying publication. Work alongside our Exhibitions Coordinator and Technician to curate and install the final show and to photograph and edit images for the publication, your own personal folio and for online distribution through a group blog.

Each group will meet for two hours a week (Thursday 1-3pm or Friday 1-3pm).

We are now recruiting for the first block of workshops running from 20th November to 12th December and for workshops continuing in January 2015.

Places are free but limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis.

Please find a booking form attached.  If you are interested please complete this and return it via email to or by post to secure your place.

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Little Book Transfers t-shirt is now on sale

Little Book Transfers designed a limited edition t-shirt for local company Lovelin, and picked us as their chosen charity! The T-shirt is available to purchase here for one week only, and £5 of every sale goes to Project Ability.

Little Book Transfers' Mairi Hutchinson used to volunteer with us, and said in her interview with Lovelin "I love working with children and community art and art therapy is something I feel strongly about. I volunteered with project ability shortly after I graduated and loved my time there and saw so much positivity through the project; I really support what they do.

Lovelin organised a photoshoot in our studios last week, and it quickly turned messy! 

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Shades’ by Nieve Milligan

This week's Artwork of the Week is Create artist Nieve Milligan's geometric painting, 'Shades'.

Nieve's monochrome work of folded lines and made and masked over with black paint is dynamic. Where the lines intersect and change places, the shapes appear to turn themselves inside out.

You can see Nieve's work and the other great works in our current exhibition Young Talent until this Saturday 18 October.  

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Meet the Volunteers - Katie Ward

For this week's Meet the Volunteers, let us introduce you to Katie Ward, a Glasgow based artist who has been a fantastic addition to our Aspire workshops.

‘After graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Fine Art, I have expanded my experiences through further study abroad, scholarships, artist residencies, internships, teaching, tutoring and support work.
Since moving to Glasgow in February 2014 I have continued to stimulate my artistic practice, developing my painting in my Merchant City studio and printmaking regularly at Glasgow Print Studio, in order to produce works for exhibiting widely across Scotland. The inspiration behind my work is derived from an interpretation of personal experience, as I take influence from an expansive array of sources, absorbed from my own consciousness of place, atmosphere, identity, and perception. I believe through the Creative Arts, we can use our voice to communicate feelings and experiences, as a narrative, in which to affect others and invoke reflection. This has led me to explore the art from which this very stir begins to occur for me....and I have been truly inspired by the work I have seen being produced and exhibited by the artists at Project Ability.

I began my eight weeks of volunteering working with the Aspire programme as I wanted to support the opportunity for participants to express themselves and achieve artistic excellence in this way. The experience has reinforced to me that through making a direct, genuine, and effective contribution to the Creative Arts by way of teaching and tutoring , a wealth of rewards, inspiration, and satisfaction, can be gained.
Predominately working with participants in the field of printmaking, I have supported artists with advice and guidance to facilitate and enable the production of diverse and inspirational works. The creative abilities demonstrated by the participants during this time has been astounding, and at the end of each class, I have often been left in awe whilst reflecting over the abundance of stunning artworks. Every artist has such a unique way of working, and the tutors do an incredible job at homing into this for every individual so as they can tune into their specific ideas and intentions for a piece. Through observing this, I have extended my awareness of the specific communication and teaching skills required for working with people from diverse backgrounds and dedicated needs, whilst being able to fully appreciate the level of professionalism and sensitivity held by all the staff at Project Ability.

I have found it to be a wholly rewarding experience, constantly filling me with inspiration, whilst reinforcing my enthusiasm for teaching and tutoring, as a means of supporting the work of Project Ability. I am delighted to continue my time at Project Ability with a further eight weeks on the Aspire programme.’

Thank you Katie!

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Lovelin and Little Book Transfers

Lovelin is a new T-shirt company with a philantropic edge:

"We offer limited edition clothing products and donate £5 of every clothing sale to a new charity every month. At the end of the month we release a t-shirt designed by one of our favourite artists that showcases the artists style and also drives the mission of the partnered charity. Again, £5 is donated off each sale and it is only available for 1 week. After the week is up, the Artist designed tee is gone forever and the next day is the start of a whole new campaign with a new charity and a new Artist release at the end of the month. Its nice to know that every time you wear your purchase, you helped someone."

And this month, the chosen charity is Project Ability, thanks to Little Book Transfers who designed the t-shirt! The limited edition t-shirt will be on sale next week, but we will receive £5 for every t-shirt you buy from their online shop this month! We are delighted to be part of this great project, and are looking forward to seeing the unveiled design next week!

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Artwork of the Week by Andrew Yulie

Andrew Yulie's fine representation of a highland cow is this week's Artwork of the Week.  We love the painterly style of Andrew's work; effortlessly capturing bags of character and life, this work really stands out from the herd! Part of The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMAFF) this work is included in our 18-25 ReConnect group show, 'Flocks', now on display in the foyer of Trongate 103. The exhibition will be running until the 31st of October, so be sure to come down for a browse before then. 

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Walking group - Week 17

The Dick Institute in Kilmarnock might not be the first place you would expect to see paintings by artist Gerhard Richter, but there is currently an exhibition of his work in this fine historic building. It was also the location for the latest walking group trip last Wednesday.

After a look round the exhibition the group explored other areas of the building which also includes a library and museums of natural history and local and social history.

It was a beautiful sunny day so the group then had a short walk into the town centre before getting the bus back to Glasgow.

The Richter exhibition continues until 6 December. For more information click here.  More photos on our Facebook

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Fundraising update!

A huge thank you to our friends and supporters who have now contributed over £2200 to our 30th birthday appeal.  Our target is £10000.  We have lots of fundraising events coming up over the next few months and you can help by purchasing items such as Christmas cards, greeting cards and original artwork from our shop.  Everything we sell is made by the artists in our studios.  It is original, unique and all profits from the shop and the sale of artwork help us to maintain our high standards and provide a first rate service.

Your donations assist us in continuing our work and making a difference: they help us buy art supplies, provide studio workspace, deliver a wide range of artistic experiences, organise exhibitions and create many other opportunities for artists with learning disabilities, children and young people with disabilities and people with lived experience of mental ill health.

You can donate securely online via our JustGiving page, via text (ANNI30 £5 (or £10) to 70070) or in person in our Trongate 103 offices.

Thank you!

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Art Trail by Rail

This unique art exhibition, by artists with a lived experience of mental health problems, takes place on platforms of selected train stations between Paisley and Port Glasgow. Ten portraits from the 2010 exhibition a thousand ships” have been selected for this exhibition as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.  The paintings join a selection of work made in arts and mental health projects in Renfrewshire. 

The paintings have been made into large scale posters which will adorn a covered walkway at Port Glasgow train station, where the work will be on show from 1st to 19th October (but might stay up longer).

The official opening is on Friday 10th October at 11am.  If anyone would like to attend there is an arranged meeting spot at 9am at Paisley Gilmour St and getting to Port Glasgow for 11am on that day.

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Christmas Fundraiser announced!

We are delighted to announce the latest in our 30th birthday celebratory events: our Christmas fundraising auction!

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Outsider Art and what it means to be an Outsider Artist. This unique event aims to blur the lines between what is considered ‘Insider’ and ‘Outsider’ Art: our gallery will be showing work by Project Ability artists alongside established and emerging contemporary artists.  Each piece of work will be on sale in a blind and silent auction, with a starting price of £30 as a nod to our 30 years of existence. Members of the public will be invited to bid on pieces of work they like without knowing who the artist is, thus rendering Outsider or Insider Art labels irrelevant. We have already started contacting artists and the feedback is amazing! It promises to be a very exciting event, with many of Glasgow's finest artists taking part in the auction!

All the money raised will go towards our ReConnect programme of visual art workshops for people experiencing mental ill-health. It will help us provide more opportunities and a rich programme of workshops, exhibitions and events to further realise and support the role of the arts in mental ill health recovery and improved emotional health and well-being for more people.

Keep an eye on our website for more information in the coming months, and make sure to save the date: Saturday 13th December.


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Shop Item of the Week - ‘Here Comes Santa’ Christmas Card

For this week's Shop Item of the Week, we have one of a trio of beautifully festive Christmas cards, designed right here in our workshops. 'Here Comes Santa',  taken from a superb painting by Aspire artist Jonathan McKinstry, is sure to fly of the shelves as Christmas approaches, so be sure to get yours fast! Also available online by clicking here. Ho ho ho!

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Lea Cummings Exhibition ‘Portals’ at Six Foot Gallery

Artist Lea Cummings' new exhibition 'Portals' is now open at the Six Foot Gallery. Lea has just finished exhibiting his work at the Southbank Centre in London, so it's a great opportunity to see his superb work in person, right here in Glasgow. 

The exhibition is running until the 23rd of October, so be sure to make your way along to have a look! 

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Simon McAuley - Artist Talk at Gartnavel Royal Hospital

ReConnect artist Simon McAuley, is currently making final preparations for his artist talk due to take place on Thursday 9th October from 12-2pm in the Summer House at Gartnavel Royal Hospital

Organised by ‘Art in the Gart’, as part of their SMHAFF public programme of events, Simon will talk about his inspirations, his practice and his experiences working in the ReConnect studios at Project Ability. A selection of paintings and photographs will also be on display at this event, which will give those attending an opportunity to meet Simon and ask any questions they have about his experiences as a visual artist.

Free, but booking required:

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


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Christmas cards

It's that time of year again! We have selected three wonderful designs by three brilliant artists: 'Penguins' by Create artist Ross Agnew, 'Here Comes Santa' by Aspire artist Jonathan McKinstry, and 'Robin' by ReConnect artist Malcome McIntyre.

Each design is being sold in packs of ten cards, and is now available in our shop and online shop. Get your pack now!

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Paths for All funds the Project Ability Walking Group!

Brilliant news!  Funding from Paths for All will see our walking group continue, strengthen and support more people to enjoy the health benefits of walking.

Project Ability was awarded £4,450 of funding from Paths for All to help promote photography walks for participants to lead healthier lives. The funding will allow us to open the group up to more people who attend our different workshops. 

Announcing the award of the grant, Paths for All’s, Chief Officer Ian Findlay said: “This funding will help Project Ability to tackle the issue of inactivity amongst disability and mental health participants in Glasgow. The project will expand the Health Walk programme to a further group of clients and aims to get people who wouldn’t normally engage in physical activity to find something that they can enjoy on a fortnightly basis.

“We want everyone to lead happier, healthier lives and enjoy the benefits of everyday physical activity. Walking is an ideal way for people to get active - no special clothes or equipment is needed and it’s completely free. We are delighted to award this grant to Project Ability in order to grow their Walk, Talk, and Snap group to deliver Health Walks to more clients.”

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