Over the past three weeks funding from the Scottish Government Covid 19 Wellbeing Fund has seen our core team of artist tutors reach 70 people, with more coming on board all the time. The tutors are delivering creative workshops and maintaining relationships through video conferencing, post, email and telephone. We are staying connected with people through facilitating ongoing collaborations and helping people at home to continue to develop their arts practice and make work.
In normal times people would be in the studio, or attending workshops; creating paintings, prints, ceramics and sculptures. Exhibitions would be drawing in crowds and our young artists would be gearing up for the annual Young Talent showcase of their work.
Over the summer we had research trips scheduled to Loch Leven Nature Reserve for a Scottish Natural Heritage funded project for people with learning disabilities to explore, celebrate and be inspired by Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. A group of artists were poised ready to embark on an ambitious living history project to capture the portraits and stories of 100 learning disabled people and key influencers in learning disability policy and culture in Scotland today. Now sadly so much is on hold.
We are still managing to support the members of AARG (Autistic Artist Research Group) through remote tuition and setting weekly tasks. An artist tutor is providing invaluable support to people with learning disabilities in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde learning disability in-patient units and artist Cameron Morgan is in receipt of an Unlimited artist award. He has received a delivery of art materials and is taking part in socially distanced mentoring sessions with artist Jason Davis.
We are honoured to be allowed to people’s homes, interrupting their day! We wish more people had access to digital technology and the internet but where there is a will there is a way. We are hugely thankful for the carers; social care workers and family who are helping people stay well, connected and safe.
We are establishing new procedures, finding new modes of communication and recognising what our new “normal” could be.
Images from phonecalls between artists and tutors featuring Joseph, Peter and Simba the cat!