Meet the Volunteers - Mary Watson

This week, meet Mary Watson, one of the first undergraduate artists taking part in our volunteering programme. Mary is a great addition to our Thursday Aspire workshops!

"I will be graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2015. Over the past four years my artistic practice has developed hugely, I now work primarily within sculpture, with my main focus currently being ceramics.

For me volunteering with the Thursday Aspire workshops has been hugely rewarding, I have never worked within such a positive, spontaneous and creative environment before.  Aspire has allowed me to see the endless different ways that people react to and use materials. I love then being able to use these different techniques within my own practice and being able to pass on my own expertise to others. I find the enthusiasm and joy that both the participant and tutors approach their work with inspiring."

Thanks Mary!

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Friends and Family Fun Workshop - Advent Calendars

The next Friends and Family Fun workshops will be Advent Calendars on Saturday 29th November .

The countdown to Christmas is almost here so why not kick things off by creating a personalised Advent Calendar with our experienced artists?

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 29th November 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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Walking Group - Week 21


Our walking group had an extra treat last week with another trip along the canal on the Creative Cargo barge.

First stop was a visit to Tessa Lynch’s exhibition ‘Café Concrete’ in the Glasgow Sculpture Studios gallery. The group then joined Tessa on the barge for a floating workshop while being transported along the water to Maryhill and then back to GSS.

Everyone was so involved in cutting and gluing their collages together that not much attention was paid to the world passing by outside… apart from noticing the heavy rain and feeling glad to cosy and dry inside!

Photos by Celine, Malcolm, Michael and Stuart.

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Meet the Volunteers - Sonia Hufton

Our volunteer programme is just starting its fourth year, and we couldn't be more impressed with our amazing volunteers! This week, we would like to introduce you to Sonia Hufton, a recent graduate from GSA, and a great addition to our Art Matters team!

‘I graduated from Painting and Printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art in June 2014 and currently have a shared studio in Glasgow. My own practice focuses on expanded drawing and collage, I like using a process, which is not based on creating a slick collection of images, stuff more sticks together and eventually colours and found objects collate. Developing an artistic practice is fun, exasperating, and rewarding and allows you to sit for hours with colours and objects just thinking. I think it is wonderful that Project Ability exists to give artists with different backgrounds this same experience.

I spent most of my summers during art school getting a lot out of making art with groups of people, mostly children, in a variety of ways. It was so good to find somewhere as great as Project Ability to continue this after graduating. I volunteer with the Art Matters group on a Saturday and the artists I work with have such a positive attitude and strong interest in the work that they are creating. It has inspired me to get out of my own artistic blocks when I see them so fully engaged. Working one to one on projects with an individual, and watching another volunteer work one to one, has been invaluable in teaching me the balance of encouragement, teaching and leaving others to their own intuition. It is definitely something I feel I am still learning.  I look forward to continue doing so for another eight weeks. It is one of the highlights of my week chatting laughing, and getting to know the artists in the group. Being there on a Saturday always puts me in a good mood.’

Thank you Sonia!

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Project Ability On the Road - Aberdeen

Last week, we were in Aberdeen for our Project Ability On the Road initiative. Artist Cameron Morgan and tutor Sharon Quigley delivered a book-making workshop in the One Stop Shop.

"Based in Aberdeen, the ‘One Stop Shop’ is an autism advice and information centre aiming to address the severe challenges experienced by local people with autism and their families.
Situated in a lovely terraced Victorian town house, it offers counselling and therapy services as well as a space to meet and socialise with a spacious front room, to explore a range of activities.

Although there have been recent craft classes programmed on site, this was the first time that OSH had invited artists in, so the day started out as a bit of an unknown quantity for  everyone. We didn’t really know how many participants to expect, so were thoroughly delighted to have a group of 6 very keen adults who joined us for the whole three hour session.

Most of the group had never met before, which might, under other circumstances, have been awkward but it meant we could all set off on the same foot, getting to know one another during the course of the day
Cameron and I devised an informal, laid back session,creating mixed media Concertina books, drawing inspiration form Scottish wild life and flora and fauna.

We wanted to make sure that even the most reticent artist could access this activity easily by offering a really rich array of source materials and drawing implements with pre-cut collage materials for those who wanted to work quickly and cutting tools for those who felt a little more adventurous. This ready-made imagery could be collaged or transferred into the pages of the books too.
During the session one participant, who has difficulties accessing social activities, said that she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so relaxed.

We stressed that this activity could take as long and a short a time as the artist wanted  to ensure participants didn't feel under any pressure.
It really was a very relaxing yet productive session."

-Sharon Quigley

If you would like to book a free visual arts workshop with us, please get in touch! 

Photos by Cameron Mogan

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Glasgow Open House Art Festival 2015 - Open Call For Proposals

Glasgow Open House want to hear from artists of every creative persuasion for their Art Festival 2015. They aim to foster an atmosphere of openness, collaboration and experimentation. Whatever your ambitions for the festival are, they want to hear your proposal — whether it’s an exhibition in your cupboard or something a bit grander in scale.

In 2015, Project Ability will team up with Lydia Brownlee and Emer Tumilty, both of COLOUR_HOTEL, to create this year's Glasgow Open House Art Festival venue signage. Our creations will signpost the various sites — tenements, buildings, parks and other unmarked spaces across the city — to alert passers-by and festival goers to GOH15 occupied areas.

For more information and how to apply:
Deadline: 18th December 2014

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Lea Cummings is exhibiting in the Unlimited R&D Sharings

On Thursday 27 November 2014. Project Ability artist Lea Cummings and the other Scottish artists awarded 2014 R&D commissions by Unlimited will see their work exhibited in Summerhall, Edinburgh.

Lea Cummings
“To open the eternal worlds, to open the immortal eyes” Blake
27 November, 2pm – Artist talk
27 November, 11am-5pm – Video installation (Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Summerhall)
Lea Cummings is a performer, visual artist, musician and filmmaker based in Glasgow.  His work utilises distortion, time, archetypes, ritual, altered states and the subconscious.

Aidan Moesby and Pum Dunbar
Fragmenting the Code(x)
27 November, 3pm – Artist talk
25-27 November, 11am-5pm – Installation (Basement Galleries, Summerhall)
'A conversation spoken in real time and processed in another.’ Aidan (Bipolar) and Pum (Autistic) experience the world as outsiders, using personalised internal dialogue to navigate the everyday. Fragmenting the Code(x) explores and responds to the linguistic and social codes of the public world.

Sonia Allori with Drake Music
Seasons 4.0
27 November, 4pm – Artist talk
Seasons 4.0 is an ongoing project inspired by Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'. In August 2014, the composer Sonia Allori and the choreographer Sheron Wray devised a new performance for electro-acoustic music and contemporary dance, reimagining Vivaldi's 'Summer' movement.  They worked with the technologist Fleeta J Chew Siegel and the dramaturg Danny Braverman.  The work is commissioned by Drake Music.

Simon Fildes
27 November, 5pm – Artist talk
Through research and development, Simon is exploring the theme of physical exhaustion testing a sequence of short stop-frame animation with 3D printed models. Contrasting the flawlessness of the technology with the struggle of the model to perform, this work aims to highlight the difficulty of achieving perfection in a world that moves fast, increasingly straining the interface between humans and the natural world.

The works have all been created with the support of R&D funding from Unlimited via Creative Scotland.

Please RSVP to, letting them know about any access requirements.

Photo: Lea Cummings, The View from Within.

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Walking Group - Week 20

Last week’s walk was led by artist Tessa Lynch whose work forms the current exhibition at Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

Tessa took the group across the river to have a look at the building work at the site of the Glasgow Nautical College which will soon be part of the new City of Glasgow College complex.

From there the group followed the path along the southern river bank to cross back to the north bank at the suspension footbridge.

It was a wonderfully bright, sunny day and the river was in sparkling form so there were many photographs made from the ripples and reflections.

On the 12th, the group will be visiting Tessa’s exhibition at the Sculpture Studios gallery and then boarding the Creative Cargo barge for a workshop and trip along the canal. Check the blog next week to find out more.

More photos on our Facebook.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘R S McColl’s’ by Gerard Gallagher

This week we are very pleased to bring you this painting by Aspire artist Gerard Gallagher!

We love Gerard's innovative shapes which transform his everyday subject matter, of people flocking to their local shop on a grey day, into something a whole lot more interesting!

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Meet the Volunteers - Jemima Wright

This week, we're focusing on another of our brilliant volunteers: artist Jemima Wright. Jemima has been a great addition to our Create afternoon team.

"Since graduating from GSA in 2011 with a degree in Textile design with a specialism in Embroidery I have continued to use using drawing, painting, photography and collage to develop embellished and printed textiles - exploring shape, colour, repeat, pattern combinations with a focus on contrasting textures and combining digital techniques with expressive mark making.

It is really inspiring to witness the open, enthusiastic and individual way the artists and tutors approach their work. The studio has a great welcoming atmosphere and is well equipped for an impressive range of activities. I love experimenting with new techniques and working in a shared environment - so volunteering at Project Ability has been a hugely rewarding experience for me."

Thank you Jemima!

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The Christmas cards are back in stock!

We are delighted to let you know that we have received a new stock of Christmas cards! Get yours quick before they sell out again!

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Cameron’s Way by storyteller Clare Hume

Drama artist and experienced storyteller Clare Hume delivered a series of workshops for GENERATION, inspired by our exhibition Cameron's Way: Coast to Coast. She recorded her story for everybody to hear, and trust us, it's well worth a listen! 

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Contemporary Outsider Art: The Global Context

Melbourne 23 – 26 October 2014

This conference co-hosted by Arts Project Australia and The University of Melbourne took place on the beautiful campus of Melbourne University. The conference started on the evening of the 22nd with a public talk hosted by The City of Melbourne on the topic “Is Out the new In? What’s up with Outsider Art”?.  Key speakers were James Brett, Founder of Museum of Everything, UK, Professor Lynne Cooke, Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA, Professor Colin Rhodes, Dean, School of Fine Arts, the University of Sydney. 

The conference proper got underway the following evening with a Keynote by Professor Lynne Cooke.  “Fusion or Confusion” Cooke’s talk explored the professionalisation and stewardship of the outsider art realm in North America in the mid 1990’s and its growing separatism from the contemporary art sector.
The following day three strands of discussion ran simultaneously; Practice, Collecting and Curating and Theory. Project Ability associate artist Tanya Raabe and I contributed to the opening panel in the practice stream alongside Deb Dyer from NIAD Art Centre, San Francisco and Mary Liniger, Art Enables, Washington.  We shared our experience of running studios and supporting artists with learning disabilities to develop their practice and find their voice in the arts sector.

All the strands run together and while delegates were free to move around we stayed with the Practice strand as this seemed the most relevant. There were presentations exploring current arts practices in China, Israel and Cambodia. A research paper from the University of Melbourne which looked at the social capital gained from accessing and participating in arts, more presentations from studios in Australia and Creativity Explored in San Francisco finishing with the voice of the artist; artists, musicians and writers from the DAX foundation in Melbourne.  Finally we all headed for drinks at the The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne and a keynote from Thomas Roeske Director of the Prinzhorn Collection, Germany.  Roeske discussed the history of the Prinzhorn collection and the early surrealist’s interest in works made in conditions of extreme stress in institutions and psychiatric hospitals through to the present and the work re-entering the mainstream.

The following day the opening keynote was delivered by David Lomas, Prof. of Art History, University of Manchester: pastiche and authenticity: surrealism’s encounter with outsider art.  Lomas also took us back to the early 1900’s and the surrealists referring to various hoaxes that were played out at the time with artists of all disciplines claiming the discovery of great works from obscure sources.
Lomas’s talk was followed with a final panel discussion and Q&A.  I was invited onto the panel to represent the studios and remind the academics on the panel to include the artists and makers in discussion on and about their work. At times there was a disconnect between the strands with the theorists and academics removed from the studios and artists and not building a platform for partnership and collaboration.

The final Keynote was delivered by Prof Colin Rhodes, Dean, School of Fine Arts, The University of Sydney.  Candide. Or how the artworld dines out.  Rhodes talked about the increasing appropriation of outsider artists in the contemporary art sector and if this comprised or neutralised their authenticity.

Finally we all headed downtown to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to view two films.  The first showcasing artists from Arts Project Australia, the second artists at the DAX centre. 
Drinks – whew, conference over!

Three hundred delegates attended this conference, the vast majority from across Australia. The conference was intense, stimulating and thought provoking and it was wonderful to meet up again with Amy Taub from Creativity Explored and Deb Dyer from the NIAD art centre both in San Francisco and to meet Mary Liniger from Washington. Project Ability has much in common with these studios and Arts Project Australia and over the three days of the conference we spent time together sharing experiences and reflecting on our individual practices.  In between events we visited Arts Project Australia in their beautiful studios in Northcote Melbourne. 

A small footnote, on the way back home I stopped in Kuala Lumpur and met the artists and staff at United Voice an arts and advocacy project for people with learning disabilities. United Voice artists regularly contribute to art exhibitions for people with learning disabilities in Malaysia, Japan and other Oceania countries.

Our sincere thanks to Arts Project Australia and the University of Melbourne for hosting this event and to Creative Scotland for supporting our attendance.
Elisabeth Gibson
Executive Artistic Director

Photos by Elisabeth Gibson and Tanya Raabe, drawings by Tanya Raabe

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Untitled’ by David Bradley

This week we are very pleased to bring you a painting by David Bradley as our Artwork of the Week. 

You can see this great work and many others in David's solo exhibition in Project Ability's gallery until 15 November. Don't miss it!

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Walking Group - Week 19

Paisley was the chosen venue for the walking group outing last week. After a short bus journey the first stop was Paisley Abbey to look at the gargoyles. The abbey has been there since the 13th century and is decorated with a series of gargoyles around the outside. It is surprising that one of these bears a startling resemblance to the monster from the Alien films. It’s believed that this is the work of a mischievous stonemason during some renovations in 1991.

The main reason for our visit to Paisley was to visit the Coats Observatory. In the information on the Renfrewshire Council website there is promise of tours, digital projections and film showings so we were really looking forward to spending some time there. We were therefore very disappointed to arrive and find that the building was locked up and that we couldn’t get access, even just to see the inside of the building.

Ach well, it was a lovely day and Paisley was looking good bathed in sunshine.  We took a wander down to the museum and spent some time there looking at the exhibits before having a walk through the town and getting the bus back to Glasgow.

More photos on our Facebook page. 

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Project Ability on the Road!

Today is the first workshop in our new “On the Road” initiative where we come to YOU to deliver a visual art workshop.  This week we are in Glasgow: today artists Meredith Crone and Steven Reilly are at the Southbrae Centre in Glasgow’s west end and this Friday we are working with C-Change delivering workshops at their Same But Different event at the Pearce Institute. 

Next week Sharon Quigley and Cameron Morgan are heading to the One Stop Shop in Aberdeen.  We can come to you………..anywhere, anytime!

More information about our outreach workshops here.

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Meet the Volunteers - Kevin Stewart Cantwell

This week, please meet artist Kevin Stewart Cantwell, who has been volunteering with our Create workshops on Saturdays.

"I graduated in 2014 from the University of West of Scotland, with a first class honours degree in Contemporary Art Practice. I have been a self-employed commercial artist since 2004, I took the decision to return to education in 2010, to get an improved understanding of what the best way to use my creativity, which could be a benefit by help others in a creative environment. The passing on of creative skills is an essential part of my practice along with the use of recycled materials that supports the environment.   

I have always respected Project Ability and support the values which they encourage. As a volunteer there, I feel part of magnificent community based organisation, the opportunity has given me first-hand experience of the impact that art and creativity can have on all of us.
All the staff, tutors and volunteers make everyone who attends the workshops feel so welcome in the studio space. I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity of sharing my knowledge and passion with the other artists and I am looking forward to the next block of workshops.

In getting to know everyone who is part of Project Ability, I have been given an unlimited opportunity to learn from them. They have educated me in so many new ways, from working in ceramics to communicating with and assisting the young people’s individual needs. I have found that being in such a creative environment is of a great advantageous for those involved, and each time I leave the studio I feel inspired by all the people who get so much joy from their own artistic inspirations.

It is a privilege to have the opportunity and experience with an exceptionally worthwhile organisation, such as the Project Ability community workshops. Thank you"

Thank you Kevin!

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