Clancy Mason talks to Steve Davis from the Langdale Programme about Communication Through Art.
Who are you and what is your role at the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living?
My name’s Steve Davis and I’m the Project Co-ordinator for art, craft, music and drama for the new Langdale Programme and I facilitate the Communication Through Art Workshops which are based at the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living (B.C.I.L.).
Can you tell us a bit about what Communication Through Art is and who it is for?
The Communication through Art Workshops provide the opportunity for Adults with a Learning Disability to develop creative skills and use art as a means of self-expression and communication.
Artists develop their art work to explore ideas, though
ts, feelings and emotions through themed workshops using colour, texture and shape to create individual and collaborative pieces of visual art.
The Communication through Art Workshops believe that individuals, whatever their sensory, physical and cognitive abilities, have strong and vital qualities, which are a reflection of their individuality and existence. It is these qualities we explore, enhance and make visible, by taking an inclusive and multi-sensory approach to producing our art work.
Please tell us about Art Trail?
To celebrate the launch of the new Langdale Programme, people attending the Communication Through Art sessions have brought together a range of exhibitions of art developed in the workshops. These are displayed in the form of a trail of art through the public areas of the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living.
Visitors can pick up a leaflet at reception which will guide them through the different exhibitions on display where they can read messages from the artists which relate to the inspiration and stories behind their artwork.
Have you exhibited outside of the Bla
ckpool Centre for Independent Living?
The Communication Through Art group have exhibited in a various places, including the ArtZone at the Learning Disability Today conference in Manchester and the Solaris Centre in Blackpool. Work was also featured as part of the Culture Shops project in Blackpool, and they have permanent works on display at the Town Hall and Progress House.
What are you plans for the future?
We are currently working on a project that’s going to be exhibited as part of Learning Disability Awareness Week looking at the theme of identity. We are also developing a project that provides artwork to enhance workspaces across Blackpool and we’re using the ArtTrail as a showcase of the group’s work to launch this.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of your artists?
One of our artists is Amanda Head, who has been with us from the start of the Communication Through Art workshops (four years) and during that time she has had the opportunity and support to develop her own style and approach to her work. She enjoys painting landscapes which she puts a lot of detail and feeling into. Amanda is developing her own portfolio of work which she is hoping will be used as part of the Art Works project, providing art for workspaces. One of Amanda’s pieces of work was presented to the Minister for Disability, Esther Mcvey, on a recent visit to the B.C.I.L, and is currently hanging in her office at the Department of Work and Pensions in London.
“I really enjoy coming to the Art Group, I really enjoy painting and being able to use lots of different colours in my artwork, I like painting flowers and landscapes because you can use lots of different colours.” – Amanda Head
Stephen Miller is another artist who has been with the Communication through Art Workshops for three years and during this time Stephen has developed his own individual style in his work. Stephen loves to paint birds and his unique and quirky approach to his subject has enabled Stephen to have been commissioned to produce a set of art work for a conference room in a Solicitor’s office in Manchester, and recently one of his pieces of work was chosen to present to the chairman of Mencap for his retirement present.
“I really like to paint birds, I like painting parrots the best because I think they are funny and have lots of bright coloured feathers” – Stephen Miller
Does Communication Through Art collaborate with any other organisations?
On display at the ArtTrail is an exhibition of work which was produced by a joint project between the Communication Through Art workshops and HighfurlongSchool. We worked with a group of students to design postcards which featured objects, places and people that are important to them as well as using colour, shape and texture to convey feelings and emotions.
Work by the Communication through Art Workshop can be seen on the Artspider website: www.artspider.org.uk
The exhibition is on in the public spaces at the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living until October 2013 and the centre is open from 9am until 6pm.
259 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9JL
Tel: 01253 476880
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