An exhibition called 'Come In We Are Awesome!' by young members of the Collective Sensory Group is opening in D'Lush Cafe at Wexford Arts Centre on Thursday, September 20, in association with Bluebird Care and continuing till October 13.
Guest speakers at the official opening will be Shona King of the Collective Sensory Group and Michael Corcoran from Bluebird Care.
The Collective Sensory Group, Bluebird Care and Wexford Art Centre pooled their expertise to provide art workshops for young people with additional needs, who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience the positive impact of art.
The week of workshops also sought to promote inclusion and awareness within the community, helping to show that behind every disability there is a huge amount of talent and ability that comes in many different forms.
This year the artists, aged from six to 15 years, brought plenty of imagination and creativity to the theme of 'Feelings'.
'We all have different feelings and accepting this about ourselves is a huge step' said Shona King. 'Appreciating that feelings we don't like are as important as feelings we do like. This is what makes us individuals', she said.
In the workshops each participant started with individual goals which were incorporated into activities conducted by the facilitating artists Tina Fortune and Deirdre Buggy who gave the youngsters one-to-one guidance, tuition and support.
'The week was a phenomenal success as evidenced by the exhibition with all the participants achieving above and beyond the goals and aspirations that were set in the beginning,' said Shona.
The activities also focused on processes and media, allowing the children the freedom to choose from an array of materials and methods of application. Tina Fortune is an artist living and working in Wexford, who uses mainly acrylics to create drawings,paintings and murals.
Her art practice is strengthened by her own four children, on of whom is on the Autism Spectrum. Tina works extensively with children with special needs and has created inspiring work on sensory rooms for children at the Collective Sensory Group and St John of God National School.
She has also worked with the Presentation secondary school in Wexford on multiple commissions and has shown her own work in various exhibitions.
Deirdre Buggy is a recent graduate from Wexford School of Art and Design who works in the media of sculpture, film and performance art. Her work explores identity through her own personal challenges and experience.
The Collective Sensory Group is a non-profit, voluntary group based in Westlands in Wexford town which provides occupational therapy and speech and language therapy to clients. The group provides recreational activities and workshops on a regular basis for young people while also supporting and working with parents.
Renowned for its community integration work, high standards of care and positive clinical feedback, it is a non-funded organisation and relies solely on fundraising and donations so that it can continue to subsidise the service.
Bluebird Care provides care and support in the home and community, meeting the physical, intellectual and emotional needs of clients and their families.