Meet the Volunteers - Mattie Roberts

"When I moved to Glasgow in September to start an MLitt in Curatorial Practice, Project Ability was already on my agenda. I’d previously volunteered at an organisation in Hume, Manchester called Venture Arts and an artist from there, Leslie Thompson, had a solo exhibition in Project Ability’s gallery space, when I first moved up, which was really amazing.

I wanted to volunteer as I really enjoy being around people making, observing different people's creative process. The Aspire workshops I volunteered with on Wednesday mornings and afternoons and Thursday mornings, are attended by such an amazing range of artists who all have such different approaches to art-making and it is really exciting just to be around that. I also wanted to understand better how I can work as a curator in an inclusive way; supporting artists and audiences often excluded from consideration. This of course going to be a continuing learning process, but I definitely feel that spending time at Project Ability has been a helpful step. It has been really great to spend time in an organisation and with artists that offer an alternative perspective on art and curatorial practice to ones I already access, through the art school or university. Being in a space where studios, offices, gallery are all housed under the one roof, not separated from each other, is so exciting; all parts of cultural and creative production being visible.

Towards the end of the placement I began preparations for an exhibition of work by Project Ability artist James Hardie, that I co-curated with Lizzie Urquhart, a fellow Project Ability volunteer. We showed the exhibition during Disability Awareness Week in Project Ability’s Project Space. As well as wanting to produce a high-quality exhibition of James Hardie’s work that both Project Ability artists and the wider public would enjoy attending we also wanted to, by presenting James’ work, identify him as an artist worthy of exhibition and recognition.

To anyone considering volunteering with Project Ability I would definitely say go for it. It’s such an exciting creative environment to be in, with so many amazing artists approaching their work from completely different angles, and that in itself is incredibly rewarding and creatively stimulating."

Thank you very much Mattie! If you wantb to volunteer with Project Ability, we are currently accepting applications. Click here for more info. 

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A great end to a great project

For the past eight weeks, a group of students from Glasgow School of Art has been meeting with a group of Project Ability artists, spending a day per week in the studios together, conversing and making. This pilot project has now come to an end, and the students & Project Ability artists met today for a feedback session and to see their work exhibited in our Project Space.

"It is refreshing to have this available to us, where there's no inhibition, a freedom for the sake of making."

"When you are put in the right place with good people, good things happen."

"I am far more confident about 4th year."

"It brought back the innocence of art."

 

"The project has completely exceeded our expectations, the blend of our participants with a selected group of students from GSA, could not have come together more beautifully.  Today we celebrated the work made, the friendships forged and talked about the importance of having opportunities such as this one.  The process was simple, we brought together artists and gave them space to work, to communicate and collaborate and they all did just that."
Tracy Gorman - Tutor

Many thanks to Lesley Black at GSA, Tracy Gorman and all the students and artists involved: James Pert, Adnan Mohammed, Judith Abubakar, Peter Johnston, Susan Breckenridge, Jennifer Cuthill, Naoko Kizaki, Kate Lingard, Ash Morgan, Holly Smith.

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Outreach workshops in Gartnavel Hospital

A group of patients from the Henderson Ward in Gartnavel Hospital has been participating in a series of workshops with tutor Meredith Crone.

"In mid-April the Project Ability Art Group on Henderson Ward were invited to participate in a Human Geography Research Project. We were asked to explore the patient’s experience of using spaces in a Psychiatric Hospital.

We engaged with this theme for one session only. Patients were presented with photos of different areas of the hospital and asked what kind of feelings or memories these places evoked.

Some of these photos were selected then collaged and made into photo montages with the addition of text, drawing and painting.

When I returned to Henderson ward in June we picked up on the idea of contours and repeated rhythms to emphasise form. This led to some really interesting mark making with ink and dip pens."

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Shop Item of the Week - Jarvis Cocker by Jaqui Smyth

Shop Item of the Week this week is this rather cool pen on paper work by Aspire artist Jaqui Smyth. Jaqui loves her indie music, and this peace portrays the enigmatic legend that is Jarvis Cocker. Jaqui’s work is very popular in our studios, and this piece can be your very own for just £45. Buy it here!

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PROCESSIONS

We were honoured to be part of PROCESSIONS, a public artwork taking place in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and London and celebrating 100 years of women getting the right to vote. A group of women from our different programmes made a beautiful banner with tutor Sandi Kiehlmann, and some of them carried it in the streets of the Scottish capital on Sunday 10th June. One of these artists, Morag Macgilchrist, tells us more about her experience.

"I attended the PROCESSIONS march on Sunday 10th June with other members of Project Ability. I had been a part of the group who had made the banner and wanted to see it carried though Edinburgh. When we arrived at the starting point at The Meadows, the park was already full of groups, mostly of women and girls and banners, lots of banners. These were not just the words on a pillowcase you see at concerts or protests, these were hand-crafted, stitched and took hours to make. Some were huge, even bigger than our large one. Others were smaller but no less well crafted. Many children carried their own handmade works, drawings on canvas and small flags were popular.

We were asked to form queues behind a series of large flags, each with a colour, purple, green and white, the suffragette colours, in order to receive a scarf to wear. We went to one of the purple queues. Our queue ended up being last to leave, making us at the end, which also meant they were giving away all the leftover scarves and many people were able to get two or three colours. Some people braided three together which looked great. I had purple and white.

Eventually we were on our way following the procession through the old town past the National Museum and over the bridge onto Princes Street before crossing back over and down Royal Mile. We then walked past the Scottish Parliament building and into Hollyrood park where there was a piper and a samba band. The weather was wonderful all day, dry and warm but not too hot. I wasn't carrying our large banner but the two ladies who were said that a few gusts of wind catching it at times were the only difficulty they had and that heat and weight were not an issue. I did wear one of our two smaller banners that hung from my neck, along with my scarfs giving me a full colour pallet. It was a great day and an honour to be involved in marking this historic even with something that in turn may be remembered historically itself."
-Morag Macgilchrist

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Volunteering opportunities

Last week we celebrated Volunteers’ Week and this week we are delighted to advertise new opportunities within our volunteering programme. 

Our studios offer a vibrant and colourful working environment for our artists, tutors and volunteers alike. Volunteering with Project Ability will challenge you, no matter what stage you are at in your career, introducing you to new ways of making art and give you a unique opportunity to meet all of our artists. For more insight into former volunteer’s experiences, please look at our ‘Meet the Volunteer’ feature on our website. 

We are welcoming applications to support our autumn programme and are looking for visual artists at any stage of their career or training. We would also especially like to invite artists with a knowledge of ceramics or print-making, to apply to support our ‘Aspire’ participants in the making of their artwork. Our Aspire programme is for adults with learning disabilities.    Volunteers should be able to commit to at least 2 hours a week, each week, for 8 weeks.  Workshops take place from 10am – 12noon and 1pm– 3pm, Monday to Thursday and 10 – 3pm on Friday.

In addition we would also like to recruit artists for our ‘Create’ Saturday young people’s workshop programme, with opportunities from 10 am to 12:30pm to volunteer with our youngest artists aged 5 – 12 years and from 1pm to 4pm to support young people aged 12 - 21 years. We also have further opportunities to volunteer with Art Matters, a designated studio time for young adults 21 – 28 years, from 4pm – 6pm. Successful applicants should, as much as possible, be able to commit to 8  Saturday sessions, with further opportunity to extend their experience possible.  

Finally, we have further opportunity to volunteer within our ReConnect programme, which supports artists with lived experience of mental ill health. ReConnect supports artists to develop their individual art practices in a supported studio environment. We would like to recruit visual artists who enjoy engaging with others and talking about art, who would like to support and contribute to our open studio. Opportunities are available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 10am – 1pm.

All of our volunteering roles are subject to an application and selection process. CVs alone will not be considered. Please follow the link to our application form and submit your application to our volunteer co-ordinator, Tracy Gorman at volunteers@project-ability.co.uk. The deadline for all applications is Friday 13th July 2018. Applications received after this date cannot be considered. If you have any questions about any of the opportunities please contact Tracy and in the meantime, good luck!

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Shop Item of the Week - Artemisia poster by Celine Mcilmunn

Shop Item of the Week is this poster print of a painting by Celine Mcilmunn titled 'Artemisia'. This image is one of six paintings Mcilmunn has created as part of her 'Mighty Women' series. Each image depicts a strong powerful woman from history. Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – c. 1656) was a painter who specialized in painting pictures of strong and suffering women from myths, allegories, and the Bible- victims, suicides, warriors. In an era when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and had international clientele.

We've just added this poster to our online shop, where you can find it for sale at £15. The 'Mighty Woman' posters can also be found in our gallery shop at Trongate 103.

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Artwork of the Week -  ‘RĂªves rouille’ by Izabella Ortiz

Artwork of the week features this gorgeous mixed media painting by Izabella Ortiz. This intricate artwork is currently on display in our gallery as part of the 'Polysémie Collection - Les Amis de Marseille' exhibition.

With an Australian mother and a French-Colombian father, as a child Izabella Ortiz has lived in France, Australia and also Alaska. Isabella Ortiz is the result of the union of various cultures, and that is how her work painting is impregnated by Inut, Aboriginal and Indians myths, tales and legends. 

Her work is so detailed it really should be seen in person. Come by Trongate 103 to have a look at this powerful and unusual exhibition!

 

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Meet the Volunteers - Hanne Lillee

Since it is #VolunteersWeek, we bring you another 'Meet the Volunteers' today: the wonderful Hanne Lillee, who has been a great addition to the Aspire team.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I’m a Glasgow based artist working within sculpture and photography. I hold a MFA in Fine art from Goldsmiths University.

In what workshop did you volunteer?
Aspire, Monday morning class.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?
I applied to volunteer because I wanted to gain more experience in supporting artists with learning difficulties.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
Yes, it was wonderful to be able to help the artists achieve their artistic intentions. The impressive facilities at Project Ability means the artists have various mediums to work within, and it is always great to help an artist explore a new medium and the possibilities that comes with that.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
Art making can sometimes get a little too serious, and helping the artists at Project Ability has reminded me that art making also should be fun, spontaneous  and exciting!

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
Michael who attends the Monday morning and afternoon classes have been working on a fantastic pencil drawing on a large canvas. He has a great line and attention to detail!

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Certainly.

Thanks Hanne!

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Meet the Volunteers - Alison Brown

This week is #VolunteersWeek, and we want to take this opportunity to thank all our incredible volunteers, past and present. 'Meet the Volunteers' gives you a glimpse into our volunteering programme and into what spending a few hours a week in our studios brings to our volunteer's practice. Alison Brown is one of our current ReConnect volunteers, and she answers our question in today's feature.

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?
I graduated from Glasgow School of Art quite a while ago – but in the meantime had worked in radio and television, and had a family. For years I knew that I really wanted to get back to art and design, but struggled to get started again. When I finally left broadcasting, I experimented with image sequences and surface pattern in drawings, prints and collages. Also I like to draw people as often as I can - I’m fascinated by faces and spend a lot of time in cafes scribbling unsuspecting coffee drinkers.
                                                                              
In what workshop did you volunteer?
The ReConnect Workshop on Friday morning.

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?

I had admired work done by Project Ability artists for years, and always thought it would be great to get involved. Beyond wanting to do something positive for other artists, I was also keen to learn about working with people in this kind of setting. I wanted to build a knowledge of how to encourage and support people to explore their artistic potential, alongside the fact that I really like working with people - I find the process of meeting and making connections with individuals really fascinating.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?
I really has! And surpassed them. I look forward to each session, to find out how things are going with everyone in the studio. The Friday artists have been a real joy to work with. Everyone is so dedicated to their work, creative and fascinating to talk to. There’s an incredible range of work being created, and I’m so impressed by the way in which people are keen to push forward and gain new skills and insights.

What I didn’t anticipate was the level of interest and support I would get back from everyone, which has been very inspiring. To be honest, I was a little nervous at first, but everyone in the studio was so welcoming that I soon felt like part of the family. It’s been years since I’ve spent time in a shared creative space and find it very motivating. I’ve been inspired to try things that I’ve seen in studio, and also try long-neglected mediums that I thought I was no good with. Being at Project Ability has reminded me too that it’s good to experiment and ‘play’ with my work, and be confident in what I am creating.

What have you learned from your experience with us?
It’s been great to work with adult artists, as previously many of the workshops I had run or assisted with previously were for children. Beforehand I thought that this would add extra layers of complexity to the experience; that people would be looking for more detail and specific help or guidance. What I found is that it’s not as straightforward as that - the support I offer actually really depends on the person I’m speaking to and what’s happening with them that day. My contribution could be as simple as giving a bit of encouragement and finding materials, or something more demanding. I’ve discovered that it helps to keep an open mind and be flexible.

I’ve learned a lot about focus. The ability to use work as a focus beyond everything else that’s going on in life can be central to an artist’s practice, and I’ve begun to discover how to use focus, and sometimes the skill of re-focussing, as a way of getting around blockages or bad days.

I’m fascinated by the way that the work opens up lines of communication between individuals, and gives a central point of contact. In my non-voluntary working life, I’ve always had to do the talking…and be the person who is persuading and generally making things happen. At Project Ability, I’ve been working on being calmer, letting people come to their own conclusions in their time. I’ve been working on listening rather than filling the space with my thoughts or ideas… I’m finding out how to step back and allow things to happen.

And finally, persistence is a great thing! There’s nearly always a little more paint you can ease from a tube…

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?
It’s really difficult to pick out one person to be honest, I really like so many of the people I’ve met and the pieces they’ve produced….I couldn’t just pick out one…

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?
Definitely…in fact I already have.

Any other comments?
Thank you for such a fantastic experience. I have gained so much, I just hope I’ve made a useful contribution in return. I’m not usually lost for words, but I’ve found it really difficult to put into words what this experience has meant to me.  Thank you to all in the Friday ReConnect studio and Celine.

Thank you Alison!

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Corseford School workshops

Corseford School pupils have been working hard this last term, alongside our tutor Tracy Gorman.

"Many beautiful pieces of art have been achieved by all of the young people at the school. They have all developed new skills in print-making, collage and painting to name a few. They have also looked at famous artists such as Picasso and Paul Klee and made art inspired by their work.

Some of the favourite pieces created by the Primary children were made using fruits and vegetables, which they enjoyed not only printing with, but smelling and tasting before they were dipped in luscious paint! Each of the children made beautiful press prints and created a ‘fruit bowl’ filled with the lovely fruits and veg they had fun experiencing.

Another favourite lesson was inspired by one of the secondary class’s topics about Africa. Each of the pupils worked hard on a silhouette painting, taking time to create a beautiful sunset, sponging on a range of warm colours, before finishing off with their choice of African animal stencilled using a dramatic black paint. I’m sure you’ll agree the results are great!"
-Tracy Gorman

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