Artwork of the Week - ‘Fishermen’ by David Bradley

This week we are very pleased to bring you a new suite of paintings, 'Fishermen' acrylic on board by ReConnect artist David Bradley

David’s work is a diary-like chronicle of his observations of the people and situations that surround him, subtitling these everyday scenes by painting them with a recurring characteristic of the emphasised nose; a motif which has become his trade mark. Every image the artist creates has personal significance, whether it is stimulated by a particular mood, reflection, or thwarting moment. By the artist’s own admission, it is amazing what can happen by accident, emphasising the idea that everyday life happens alongside his art.

Don't miss your chance to own one or more of these unique nine editions which are now available to buy for £15 in our gallery shop!  

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Walking Group - Week 11: GSS

The walking group headed off to The Whisky Bond again last week for the second of two workshops designed in response to the current exhibition by Iman Issa.

As with the previous workshop, the visit began with a viewing of the show, this time mostly concentrating on the pieces of text that form part of the artwork.

The workshop was led by artist and writer Joanna Peace, a good friend of the ReConnect group, and she had several activities planned involving writing, drawing and collage and incorporating some of the items that had been cast the week before. Most people were too involved in the workshop to use their cameras so there is only a small selection of photographs this week but some of them demonstrate how absorbed the group were in the activity and some of the lovely work that was made.

After helping to tidy up the group had a walk along the canal path and back into town.

More photos on our FlickR.

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We are experiencing some issues with Facebook

We are unfortunately experiencing some issues with Facebook, with our profile being disconnected. Our Page is still running, though we are unable to update it for now. The issue should be resolved soon, and we apologise for any inconvenience. If you want to keep updated on our events in the meantime, please check our Twitter, our Instagram and keep following this blog.

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Artwork of the Week - ‘Total Drama Island’ by Harriet Campbell

This week we are very pleased to bring you an artwork from our current exhibition 'Total Drama Island' by Harriet Campbell. 

Harriet Campbell attends Project Ability’s Art Matters programme where she makes works about everything 'Total Drama Island'; a Canadian animated television series set in a fictional reality show following the competition of 22 teenagers at an imaginary island located in Ontario. Campbell’s paintings depict other well known characters from art history or other aspects of popular culture in the stylised form of the animation that inspires her.

The exhibition continues in our gallery space in Trongate 103 until 30 May. 

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Project Ability’s Media Unit is Launched!

The new Project Ability Media Unit provides opportunities for young filmmakers with disabilities to learn specialist film and DVD production, I.T. and media skills, with the aim of creating a sustainable film making unit which will provide participants with work experience and paid employment, creating short films and digital content for multi-platform distribution.

Allan McKeown and Max and Sam McIlmunn were filming at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld, and also in Kilmarnock for the Shine Partnership and their Get Onside project. The Media Unit are producing filmed content for the project evaluation and a promotional film with project highlights.

 

The Media Unit are now in business!  If you are planning an event, workshop, or conference and want to capture it on film, make a DVD, or broadcast it digitally then call us on 0141 552 2822 or email us on info@project-ability.co.uk

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The Volunteer and ReSearch programme reports are now available to read online

Now in its 5th year, the volunteering programme at Project Ability continues to go from strength to strength. Its positive impact is one shared by the volunteers, participants and tutors alike, with everyone benefiting from the contribution made.

The 2014/2015 report, showcasing case studies from our 'Meet the Volunteers' blog series, is now available to read online.

Launched last year, the ReSearch programme provides space and support to artists who have an interest in developing their practice through research and delivery in partnership with the artists at Project Ability. The ReSearch programme gives artists of all experiences and abilities, the opportunity to work and learn from each other in a series of creative conversations. 

You can now read the 2014/2015 ReSearch report online.

From everybody at Project Ability, we would like to say a huge thank you to all our amazing volunteers! 

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Monorail is collecting money for Project Ability

We have a long history with Mono and Monorail, who have been extremely supportive of Project Ability and our artists throughout the years, with fundraising events and exhibitions. Now the music shop is showing how generous they are once more: they are collecting all 5p bag charges and donating them to our charity!

Thank you Monorail!

If you would like to fundraise for Project Ability, or would like to submit an idea for an event, please get in touch at info@project-ability.co.uk or 0141 552 2822.

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Walking Group - Week 10

Our walking group are becoming familiar faces at The Whisky Bond; home of the Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

Last week they went there for a plaster-casting workshop with Alys Owen, one of the studio holders at GSS. First the group were met by Rosie who introduced the current exhibition of work by Iman Issa, and presented them with some objects to photograph.

They were then joined by Alys who took the group to the plaster-casting room and demonstrated some simple casting techniques using alginate and plaster. Everyone had a go and a good time making a variety of objects.

After the workshop, the group had a walk along the canal and back into town before going their separate ways.

Next week the group will join Joanna Peace for another look at the exhibition, this time focusing on the text elements of the work and taking part in a writing workshop.

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Meet the Volunteers - Hayley O’Gara

This week, we would like to introduce you to Hayley O'Gara, an artist who has been volunteering with our Saturday visual arts classes since the start of the year. Like our other volunteers, Hayley has been an invaluable addition to the team.

"It has been a pleasure to volunteer within the surroundings of such an intimate and supportive environment, created by the fantastic staff and participants of Project Ability.  This is a place for users of the ‘Create’ group to express themselves freely without dealing with any outside pressures, they are simply there to be expressive, to learn and to engage. It has been a pleasure for me personally to be allowed back to a moment where such an environment exists.

This has been a warm welcome back into the creative world of making for the purpose of self-fulfillment and expression, rather than for briefs and strict deadlines. After acting in the role of support assistant for a variety of charities during this passed year, my time with the create group has cemented my passion and focus to hopefully obtain a career within the supportive arts sector. I find it deeply rewarding helping others express themselves via the means of art when spoken words do not suffice.

I am very much looking forward to the results of my suggested pinhole photography workshop which Project Ability have kindly allowed me to run, it will be fantastic to engage with the young participants within a process that I am very much passionate about."

Thank you Hayley!

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Thank you Southside Souk!

We had such a wonderful time at the Southside Souk! The event, taking place in Pollock Park's Old Barn, was a celebration of Glasgow's different communities: there were plenty of amazing craft stalls including Poppy & Mimi,  Made by Suzi, Botanica Home and many more, as well as beautiful food, DJs, storytelling sessions, Capoeira demonstrations, and an altogether great vibe.

Despite the heavy rain, many people popped by, and we sold a few artworks and shop items. It was also a great way to meet new people and to let people know about our work: watch out for possible collaborations in the future!

The cherry on top of the cake was that the organisers Mel and Claire chose Project Ability as the Souk's charity for Mental Health Awareness Week, and donated all the profits from the door to our organisation. Thanks to them and all the visitors, we raised a brilliant £250!

Many thanks to all!

(Photos: last three images courtesy of Poppy & Mimi)

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ReConnect artists on the Riverside Show

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and to mark the occasion, Glasgow's Riverside Show came to our studios and filmed a segment on our ReConnect programme. 

You will recognize some familiar faces, including artist Simon McAuley and tutor Celine Mcilmunn, and see plenty of amazing work in progress. 

Click here to see the show (we are on just after the 27th minute)

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The Summit report is now online

In early March, we hosted the International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios, which gathered 11 international studios and their artists. The event was for learning disability artists to take the stage, celebrate their talent, meet their peers and share their creative practice. 

We have produced a document detailing the event and the feedback we received, which is now available to read online

Thanks again to everybody who took part in this event and made it the success it was!

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ReSearch Room - James McCann

James McCann is an artist and PhD student who recently started a ReSearch project with Project Ability. Rather than collaborating with one person like in previous ReSearch projects, James will document and work creatively with a handful of Project Ability artists and produce filmic pieces "which are either an extension of or descriptive of an existing body of work or their artistic practice as a whole." 

"My name is James Mc Cann and I am the current artist in residence at Project Ability.

I am a sculptor, performance artist and film maker. I usually work with quite low-fi processes and materials. I am currently studying for a PhD at Glasgow School of Art, my research is based on  the idea of making documentary film as an artist, and weather this process can be theorised as allegorical.

I have been at Project Ability for 2 weeks now, and while giving an introductory presentation on my work I realised it has taken me up until this point to discuss my work as having any relevance or engagement with mental health as a discourse. I don’t think I am unique in not wanting to discuss mental health in relation to my artwork, even if it has a real relevance to what I am creating. 

There are a number of reasons why as an artist I am reluctant to do this, one is that obviously it is an issue which is very close to me which I would not want to defend in a critical setting, but mainly the issue is one of thematics. To make the connection between an artwork and mental health can imply a singularity of meaning, it is the difference between making ‘political art’ and ‘making art politically’. Signposting an artwork as ‘about mental health’, I feel stops the viewer from having their own engagement with a work. Also, there is the problem of an assumed functionality, that if I make an artwork which relates to a condition I may or may not have, it may be viewed as a purely therapeutic exercise, and this I believe undermines my voice as a creative practitioner.

The first thing that struck me, and I would assume most people who discover Project Ability, is the standard and variety of work that it produces. It is arguable that my tentativeness in referring to mental health when discussing my artwork is a lot less stifling to creative endeavour than the gaze of an aloof art world of hyper-criticality and perpetual postness. You will see a lot of great painting at Project Ability, feats of technical skill and work that contains an unapologetic humanity which is instantly engaging. My goal at Project Ability is to help facilitate a hand full of artists in making filmic pieces, which are either an extension of or descriptive of an existing body of work or their artistic practice as a whole.

In my own practice, I have recently finished an experimental film entitled ‘MONOMANIA 5’ which was a culmination of different projects and a collection my own imagery and sound from different sources. The piece is a response to cognitive diagrams that were given to me as part of CBT treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was perplexed by a diagram, which allegedly mapped out my own cognitive loops and the functions of an internal space. The diagram fulfilled its therapeutic function as a means of helping externalising thought processes and helping one ‘step outside’ oneself. But I also became interested in the cognitive diagram as an art object which itself was descriptive of the art making process.

The idea of the art object as cognitive diagram interests me in that it is a didactic empirical communication of an interior space, which is anything but. This is where the theories of allegory I am researching are of relevance, because in its traditional form allegory is the mode by which an inaccessible  ‘divine’ world can be communicated to our ‘profane’ understanding. 

I am interested in my research in looking at how the artwork functions as a document, and how an artwork can be used as a self-reflective or auto didactic tool used to communicate an unknown or inexpressible truth back to ourselves.  It is allegory that allows this operation, as it allows the art object (or document) to exist both simultaneously as what it is and what it is not, to both be materially in the world as object and point away from it as idea. My argument in terms of my research is that the problems of allegory and of faith based image making can help us understand the seemingly paradoxical position of the artist/ documentary maker in a secularised art world.

It is unclear at this moment whether my research period at Project Ability will form part of my PhD project or if my residency will take a different direction all together. I did not want to arrive with a fixed set of goals and assumptions at the expense of leaving with a real experience. I would like to thank all those at Project Ability for this opportunity and also for the warm welcome I have already received."

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Project Ability on Local Giving

Great news! We now have our own page on Local Giving! 

The website allows you to donate regularly or as a one-off via their secure online platform, and to set-up your own page if you want to fundraise for us. Are you participating in a race in the coming months? Are you planning a bake-sale, a drastic haircut or parachute jump? Well you can now use our Local Giving page to raise funds for us and let people know about it! Local Giving even price-matches donations on occasion, so keep an eye here for any fundraising info.

Click here to see our Local Giving page. 

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Project Ability at the Southside Souk

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and to mark the occasion, our friends at Southside Souk have invited us to their Saturday 16 May event and will donate all the door proceeds to Project Ability.

Established in the summer of 2014, Southside Souk is an afternoon festival of world music, performance, food and crafts from the eclectic communities around Glasgow. "Come on down and support our local artists, makers, cooks and creators! The bookery team will also be there with an array of secondhand adults and childrens books and we have storytelling for the wee ones throughout the day. Plus of course some fab music and performances in the beautiful outdoor barn. Come spend the afternoon with us, bring your friends, family and a blanket....and enjoy the sunshine and festivities..."

Project Ability will have a stall with artwork and shop items, so make sure you come see us!

This is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness on the importance of art in vulnerable communities.  The money raised at the Souk will help us maintain our high standards and provide people with disabilities and mental ill-health aged 5 to 80 plus with the opportunity to work with professional artists and access professional quality art materials.

Many thanks to Claire Bell and Melissa Grossman for choosing us as this month's charity! 

Southside Souk
Saturday 16 May, 12pm-5pm
The Old Barn + Yoga Barn
Dumbreck Stables, 82 Dumbreck Road, G414SN Glasgow

(Images courtesy of Southside Souk)

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Walking Group - Week 9: Pollock Park

The walking group was somewhat decreased in size last week and the main cause of this was most probably the weather. It was cold, wet and miserable so it was only a small number of brave and hardy walkers that made it along to Pollok Park.

Brave and hardy they may have been, but they didn't hang about in the great outdoors for long before taking shelter in the Burrell museum where they were met by Grant and Louise who were ready to deliver a weaving taster workshop. They took the group to see a few of the woven pieces on display and talked about their history and how they were made before going to the education room for a demonstration of a more simple method of making woven pieces.

It wasn't long before everyone in the group was happily weaving away and completely absorbed! Grant and Louise were great company and had some very interesting stories to tell.

This was the walking group's second visit to Pollok Park and both times the weather has prevented more than a short walk. Perhaps another visit will allow for greater exploration outdoors but if not, then another visit to the Burrell before it closes for repairs next year would be very welcome.

For more information about the Burrell Collection Museum visit http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/burrell-collection/pages/default.aspx

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Project Ability On the Road - bookings open for June / July

Since November 2014 Project Ability has worked with people with learning disabilities throughout Scotland delivering a series of visual arts workshops.

We have been to the Southbrae Day Centre in Glasgow, C-Change in Glasgow, the National Autistic Society, One Stop Shop in Aberdeen, Artform in Glasgow, Ceartas in Kirkintilloch, Partners in Play in Wishaw, One Stop Shop in Dunfermline, Partners in Play in Cumbernauld, One Stop Shop in Perth, One Stop Shop in Kilmarnock, Mary Russell School in  Paisley, the Milngavie & Bearsden branch of Enable and the Preshal Trust in Glasgow.

We have met over one hundred people, made some fantastic art and had a lot of cups of tea!  If you know people who are interested in making art and working with fellow creatives then get in touch.  The workshops are delivered by a professional artist and an artist with a learning disability.  They are free of charge and we are now taking bookings for workshops in June and July.  Please contact Elisabeth Gibson on 0141 552 2822, or email director@project-ability.co.uk

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