The National Autistic Society organised a national art competition with over 70 pieces of work exhibited in the Cob gallery in London. The entries were whittled down to two runners up and one winner by a panel of judges, including award-winning autistic artist and poet, Jon Adams – and our very own Ruth Mutch is one of the runners up!
Many members of the public came to see the exhibition, find out about the autistic artists, and learn more about autism. Darrell Hawkins, who runs NAS Artrack and helped to organise the exhibition, said: “Every day I see the positive impact that art can have on autistic people’s lives. It’s wonderful to see their confidence developing and the sense of achievement that creating a piece of work you’re proud of can have on someone."
Well done Ruth!
Save the date! Our last fundraiser of the year is our Christmas party, on Thursday 17 December, 7pm-9.30pm!
Join us for an evening of holiday fun, with music by DJ Tom Bevan (who used to work at Project Ability), party games and of course a raffle! There are once again plenty of great prizes to be won, including meal vouchers, Cass' Art vouchers, and the signed Rangers shirt worth £150 which was put back in the pot after the Project Ability Spooky Night.
Put your party shoes and your best Christmas jumper on, bring your family and friends, and get ready to party! Only £5 in, including a free raffle ticket. Tickets are available from reception upstairs or at the door on the night.
Shop Item of the Week time again, and this week we bring you these festive ceramic gingerbread men, created in our workshops by the Friday Aspire group. Priced at just £12 each, these Christmas treats would certainly inject some jingle into any household!
Available from our Christmas shop, which opens this Saturday from 1pm. Be there!
Artwork of the week....'Ketchup', by Lewis Scott! This bright and painterly rendition of one of our favourite condiments is 84 x 60 cm, on paper, and is a magnificent piece of work.
Lewis Scott is part of Project Ability's Aspire programme. Although in keeping with the artists' humorous style, this painting branches out from his usual monochromatic line drawings, showing his creative talent with colour and paint through expressive and confident mark making. On exhibition in our next show, Food To Go, which opens this Saturday from 1-4 at our Trongate 103 gallery. This exhibition sees our gallery and shop combine into a one stop holiday shop!
Our volunteers play a big part in our workshops, and we always love reading about their experience with us. Today, we bring you Caitlin O'Connell's story in 'Meet the Volunteers'.
"I am in my final year at The Glasgow School of Art studying Communication Design, specialising in Illustration. It is a broad and varied course which has provided me with exciting opportunities to challenge myself. My own practice has so far consisted of drawing, printmaking, moving image, film photography, sculpture, installation and ceramics. I am often veering into fine art and I am keen to continue to expand and diversify my practice as much as I can in my final year at art school.
My work is informed by people and the social fabric of life; observing, celebrating and critiquing what I see. I have been living in Glasgow for just over 3 years now and I love it. The arts scene is so vibrant and diverse. I think Project Ability contributes massively to this and it has been a joy to be part of it for a short time. I believe in inclusive and accessible art and love working with people who share my interest and enthusiasm, i.e. everyone at Project Ability. I have always wanted to work directly with people, actively engaging with a community, this is one of the reasons I was attracted to the volunteers opportunity.
Project Ability’s exhibitions in the space at Trongate 103 and elsewhere are really exciting. I think Project Ability’s visibility in the community is important, celebrating the hard work and creativity of all the artists. I particularly enjoy working with children, to be part of their development is a really fortunate position to be in, seeing them change and grow in ability and confidence is incredibly fulfilling. A child’s point of view is always a refreshing look at art and, the very often too serious, art world. I relish the chance to get a new angle on things. I am soaking up influences all the time, for this reason I was excited at the prospect of being in the Project Ability studio environment with lots of new people making new things.
My experience over the past few months has been amazing. I have been volunteering at Create on a Saturday afternoon with the older children and young people. Each Saturday I leave feeling really positive, having just had a great afternoon talking and making in a friendly, relaxed and productive environment. I have really enjoyed helping people with their printmaking as it is something I myself have a strong interest in. I have also worked with people making Godzilla costumes and ceramic dinosaurs! The variation of work is impressive, showing the incredible imagination of the makers and the range of great facilities.
I’ve learnt loads from all the children and young people about themselves, their ideas and their working processes. All of which are invaluable to me. The artists working at Project Ability facilitating everyone’s individual artistic vision create a wonderful atmosphere in the studio. I have enjoyed meeting my fellow volunteers, we all come from different creative backgrounds, which has proved fascinating and provided us with lots to discuss, share and learn. I have gained a huge amount of experience at Project Ability, hopefully readying me slightly more for leaving university. I am very grateful for the opportunity."
She will then use this experience during a skills development workshop session commissionned by Engage where she will explore the use of storytelling and drama approaches in engaging audiences with visual art exhibitions.The aim is that participants will go away with more confidence in communicating with a range of audiences about visual art and a useful framework that they can adapt to their own situation.
Keep an eye on the blog for some photos of the workshop!
Our walking group had it's first outing for a while last week and went to see the Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition at Scotland Street School. Luckily there was a break in the rain so it made for quite a pleasant walk along the Clydeside before crossing to the south of the river and along to the museum.
The exhibition was wonderful and everyone was very impressed by the quality and variety of the photographs some of which were made by children as young as ten years old!
The exhibition runs until 29th November and information can be found at http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/scotland-street/whats-on/Pages/default.aspx
It's well worth a visit! You can see more photos on our Facebook page. (note: the last two photos are of photographs that were part of the exhibition)
Michael McMullen's untitled pen on paper work is our Shop Item of the Week. Available from our online shop, this work can be yours, mounted on card, for just £40. Michael's drawing - as well as a number of items in our shop - is sure to attract some attention in the run up to Christmas, so be sure to be quick and grab yourself something unique.
John Cocozza's love of Sci-Fi and art become one in his latest creations, on exhibition now at our Project Ability gallery at Trongate 103. Recycling everyday objects into the working materials for his sculptures, John’s creativity and ingenuity relay the passion he feels for his ‘subjects’. 'Blake 7' is constructed from found objects, and is just one of the science fiction flying machines John has created for this show. This exhibition, The Research Room Presents... is only up until November 21st- just a few more days!
"As a recent mature graduate in visual art, I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Project Ability where all the staff and volunteers are very knowledgeable, have a great sense of care and are a delight to work with.
With Create, I am helping in the ceramics area where the students make anything from fruit to dragons! It is enormous fun and the expression on the students’ faces when they create such wonderful works of art is worth its weight in gold.
The Reconnect programme is full of so many talented artists. The standard of drawing and painting is very high and always inspires me to want to grab a paintbrush and start painting. Everyone is very friendly and the only disappointment is that our time goes by so quickly.
I would recommend any artist to volunteer at Project Ability. It is a wonderful opportunity, the facilities are very good, it’s a fantastic learning curve and, most importantly, you get to work with some incredible people."
Many thanks Iain!
Project Ability and C-Change are working together to capture stories from people with learning disabilities who lived in long stay hospitals in North East Scotland.
A lot of people with learning disabilities in their fifties and older (some younger!) will have lived in long stay hospitals at some point in their life. The hospitals closed over twenty years ago but we still think it is important to capture people's stories and to celebrate their achievements; home, friends and family, work and play to reflect on how life has changed for people with learning disabilities in the last twenty years.
The project will host its second consultation event on Friday 20th November 2015. This is a chance to find out more about the project, what is involved and what your contributuion might be. Taking part in a visual art workshop you can use text, painting, drawing, collage, photographs to express a memory and make a statement.
The workshop is free of charge. Light refreshments & lunch will be provided.
If you would like to attend this workshop, please register by phoning 01224 974 730
Date: Friday 20th November 2015
Time: drop in visual art workshops from 11.30am-3pm
Venue: Arts Centre & Theatre, 33 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5AA
After two weeks of travel around Scotland and England, then a flight home and back to work, my time at Project Ability seems both far away and just a few days ago. I am glad that I was able to stop in before my flight home and see a few staff and artists to say goodbye.
The work that I started at Project Ability will be part of my ongoing series of drawings on linen that explore my family history through retelling and embellishing the bits and pieces of what little I know. I was happy to get to the library at Airdrie to find out more about my Lithuanian ancestors who immigrated to Glasgow around 1900. Up in the Isle of Skye my cousin and I explored cemeteries looking for graves of ancestors.
When I left Project Ability, I traveled to the south of England to take a workshop with Rosalind Wyatt at West Dean College in Chichester. There I learned an embroidery technique, duplicating handwriting with stitches. I began to take my journal entries and embroider them on a shirt.
I am so grateful to have had the time and space to work on these pieces at Project Ability. I want to thank everyone, especially Elisabeth, Jim, Berengere, Stewart, Lisa, Tracy, Celine and Sandi for making my too short residency so terrific. I really enjoyed meeting all of the artists in both rooms and seeing some of the amazing things going on in all of the programs. I am looking forward to sharing my experience back in Ohio at the Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery. I hope to see you all again!
This week we bring you this excellent acrylic on card piece by ReConnect artist Christina SooJa Massey as our Shop Item of the Week. For the small sum of just £30, this represents a real opportunity to own a fantastic artwork by an artist who is sure to become very, very popular indeed. Our shop is fully stocked with a plethora of other fantastic items, so do pop by, have a browse and see what other gems we have on offer!
You can also visit our online shop by clicking here.
This week we are pleased to feature the self-titled collaborative film, James McCann & Rehan Yusuf as our artwork of the week. This short film is part of our current exhibition ‘The ReSearch Room Presents…’, and is the culmination of James’ recently completed ReSearch project with Project Ability.
James McCann is a performance artist, film maker, and a sculptor as well as a Fine Art Practice PhD candidate from the Glasgow School of Art. He has documented and worked creatively with three Project Ability artists to produce filmic pieces "which are either an extension of or descriptive of an existing body of work or their artistic practice as a whole."
Rehan Yusuf is one of the Project Ability artists whom James has been working with. Rehan’s colourful and figuratively abstract paintings provide the back drop for the narrative in this short film. Exploring the mind of Rehan through conversation, painting and text, James McCann & Rehan Yusuf is an experimental assemblage of investigation into the creative thought processes of both James and Rehan.
For this week's Meet the Volunteers, we'd like to introduce you to the wonderful Ailsa Sutcliffe, who has become an honorary member of our Friday Aspire group!
"I started volunteering with Project Ability (Aspire) shortly after graduating from art school last year. I had become quite disillusioned with the art world after four years of working in an intense collegiate environment, but Project Ability changed my outlook almost immediately. Seeing the members of the group I work with enjoy making work every week and not worrying about imperfections or fussing over tiny details totally altered the way I had been thinking about making work and inspired me to keep going and try things that are out of my comfort zone.
As an illustrator and a designer I am used to working on small things; books, posters, leaflets. The group is always aspiring (pun intended) to go bigger and bolder and are not afraid of colour, new techniques or working quickly. On my first day I remember watching Jonathan McKinstry fill a six foot canvas in about an hour, it was amazing! The group is really prolific and enthusiastic about making, and making for fun. It's incredibly refreshing to be immersed in such a relaxed and inspiring environment where such a broad range of work is being produced.
We've also taken the workshop on tour to Kelvingrove Museum and Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life which has been great; I'm fascinated by museums and collections of artefacts and it was really interesting to observe the group respond creatively to the environments, there were some great results.
Going to Project Ability on Fridays has become the highlight of my week, so much so I've stayed on for an extra couple of blocks because I wasn't ready to leave! You can never feel glum when you're around such a nice bunch of people, and I'm really grateful to have been given the opportunity of meeting and working with them all."
Many thanks to Ailsa and all our fantastic volunteers!
This week we bring you another excellent piece by David Bradley as our Shop Item of the Week. This acrylic on board painting, part of a new series of works by the artist, can be yours for just £45. Davis's work is very popular, so be sure to be quick!
Available from our online shop.
‘Inizio’ by Kevin Cantwell is our chosen artwork of the week. Currently on display as part of The ReSearch Room Presents exhibition, this piece, along with several of his other works in the exhibition, takes inspiration from early flying machines, aviation scrap yards and flying creatures from today's environment. Tonight we welcome the public to explore this and the other works on exhibition at our gallery here at Trongate 103, from 6-8pm.
The exhibition showcases two of this year’s partnerships between Kevin Cantwell and John Cocozza and between James McCann and Rehan Yusuf, Jane Fisher and Lorraine Rainoir Clark.
John McNaught is a very talented Project Ability artist who has been attending our Aspire workshops for many years. His paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally, and are a testament to how far he has come since the accident that changed his life almost ten years ago.
In 2006, McNaught suffered a massive stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side and unable to talk. Whilst in hospital, after months of extensive physiotherapy, John started attending art classes, which helped him cope with the devastating effects of the stroke. He had to learn how to draw using his left hand, and soon discovered a real interest in the arts!
John is now a regular at Project Ability and a familiar figure in our Aspire visual arts classes: always focused and working on intricate paintings of landscapes or sceneries. His wife, Patricia, tells us: “His passion for art has played a huge part in his journey today. Painting takes his mind off what he’s gone through and gives him something else to focus on. It’s also helped to make the left hand-side of his body stronger. If it wasn’t for the art classes, I think John would have struggled more.”
Our workshops play an essential role in our artists’ lives, they are a place where creativity is celebrated and where people can work in a safe, supported environment. You can help us continue delivering a first rate programme of workshops by donating via our Local Giving page. No amount is too small, every pound counts! And thanks to Local Giving, if you donate £10, they will match fund it, giving us £20 in total! On behalf of all our artists: thank you!
This week, let us introduce you to Sheena Russell, who has been a fantastic addition to our Create Saturday Visual Arts workshops.
‘Volunteering with Project Ability is great fun. When I started I was quite nervous, as it was a while since I worked on an art workshop but everyone in the Create sessions is very welcoming. The young people that participate in these workshops are there because they love to make art; their passion really comes across in their work. For someone like me who is used to a conceptual environment it is liberating to see these young people create work so freely.
I graduated 2 years ago from the Fine Art course at University of Cumbria, Carlisle. What I really loved about my course was that we were encouraged not to take on a specialism and instead to constantly experiment with different techniques. Project Ability’s studio has an impressive range of facilities, which gives so much freedom to play with different media. I love to encourage people at Create to try new things and likewise I have learned a lot of techniques from them too.
These sessions feel more like a community than just a workshop. Every week I have had a good giggle with the young participants, as well as making art there are always brilliant conversations about sci-fi films or bananas! It has been great getting to know everyone as well as helping with their practice.
This opportunity has helped give me back my confidence to pursue art professionally. Since starting I have found work with a lantern project, I am determined to find more opportunities and get back into my studio and make art because like the people at Create, that’s what I love to do.’
Thank you Sheena!
"This October Project Ability artist Cameron Morgan and I twice visited the Art Department of Carrongrange School in Cameron’s neighbourhood of Stenhousemuir to deliver ‘On the Road’ outreach workshops to second year and upper school pupils.
We were no strangers to this venue. A decade ago we had both worked here with a team of artists from PA . We collaborated with sixth formers to cast a giant octagonal planter with inlaid mosaic panels for one of the schools courtyards.
As we walked along the corridors I caught a glimpse of our planter with a lovely red Japanese maple tree growing from it.
The school has a really vibrant Art Department where the subject is clearly not only part of the learning curriculum but a real place of personal and self development as well. On our first visit we met the upper school pupils and made concertina books. We asked them to think of a theme or narrative that they wanted to run through the pages. After a little deliberation they came up with and embraced the theme of Natural History and Animals, producing some images so full of character including different varieties and breeds of dogs in all shapes, forms and colours imaginable.
The next visit saw the second year students engage with the process of block print making. We offered them the challenge of creating a seascape. As it happened this was quite an opportune idea as they had made a trip to the beautiful beach at Yellowcraigs only the week before and the seaside was still fresh in their minds. They really enjoyed the sensory experience of working with inks and rollers, producing individual prints of rhythmic wave patterns and sea creatures. They then pooled all the images together to make a large scale piece of group artwork.
The school is due to move to a purpose built premises in Grangemouth and we very much hope we can collaborate again, either at their new venue or Trongate 103."
Meredith Crone (tutor)
If you would like to book a free On the Road workshop with us, please contact Elisabeth Gibson on 0141 552 2822 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"It was great coming back to Project Ability to finish my triptych painting of the International Summit which took place in March.
I felt I had to get to know my painting again after it been stored away in the cupboard for six months and it was a little strange at first. It was like visiting a long lost friend who I haven't seen in years, so I just wanted to catch up on all the gossip.
Once we got to know each other again, I began to see where the gaps were in the piece and began a process of painting, layering and standing back and drawing back into it to see how the three canvases were working together.
It was great to see so many familiar faces in the studio whilst I painted and on occasion people would come and join in the conversation about how the painting was coming together. I loved the way many of you as artists in the studio would join me to critique the work and admire my artistry whilst I carried on painting. A truly colaborative approach!
I feel like my painting of the Summit belongs to everyone who came to the International Summit and beyond.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the work I did during my residency on exhibition in January til the end of February next year.
And it doesn't stop there. I'm hoping that this work will travel internationally and visit some of the studios that came to the International Summit.
And some very exciting news is that I have just received funding for a big new portrait project coming soon! Keep it under you hat for now but keep watching my Twitter and Facebook to see what's happening!
A massive and thank you to everyone at Project Ability and I'll see you in January. Bye for Now."
Our Spooky Movie Night was a great success! Many thanks to everybody who made it and who took part in the event!
Fancy dress was optional, but people didn't disappoint: skeletons, zombie brides, Cruella, X-Men, spooky unidentified characters and even an elephant! The prize went to Harriet Campbell's incredibly spooky outfit, with the Art Matters artist taking a £20 Cass'Art voucher home.
Each table was given a pumpkin to carve, and the judges had a tough job picking the best one.
There was a really great atmosphere, and thanks to everyone's generosity, we raised a fantastic £430! On behalf of everybody at Project Ability: thank you!
- “I am going to tell you about my performance experience”
- Shop Item of the Week - Porcelain Fox Plate, Scott Smith design
- Artwork of the Week - by Nnena Kalu
- Artwork of the Week - by Rehan Yousuf
- Shop Item of the Week - ‘A Musical Guide to Scotland’ Tea Towel
- Film & Animation
- Recruitment & Volunteering
- Trongate 103
- Walking group
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