Since 2010, Mayo County Council’s arts service has actively encouraged artists, groups of people with disabilities, venues and arts organisations to come together and collaborate in the development of quality arts projects.
People with disabilities, from children to older adults, have participated in projects encompassing a wide range of art-forms including painting, print-making, stained glass, sculpture, bronze casting, poetry, book binding, dance, music, drama and film making.
Arts venues throughout the county have established long term relationships with local artists and groups of people with disabilities and have also played their part in the development of the UPSTART initiative. These include:
- Áras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet/ Belmullet Arts Centre and Western Care Association, Erris.
- Ballina Arts Centre, Ridgepool Training Centre, and the Scannán Tecnology group.
- Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle and Western Care association, Ballina.
- Custom House Studios, Westport and the Carrowbeg Artists Collective.
- Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, St Anthony’s and St Bríd’s schools.
- Lissmirane Arts Resource project, O’Dwyer Art Centre
- Rural Training Centre, Castlebar with various artists.
- Tacú Family Resource Centre, Ballinrobe, Crann Mór Centre, Ballinrobe and the Luisne Art Group.
“My clinical life” by Katie Moore
In 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 3rd December as International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which brings together individuals, businesses, community organisations and governments from every corner of the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions, skills and achievements of people with disabilities.
Mayo County Council’s Arts service has made a considerable commitment to the development and the furtherance of the Arts and Disability agenda throughout the county. The Arts service has developed excellent working relationships with and supported a number of local arts initiatives with groups of Artists with disabilities such as the Luisne Art Group, a visual arts initiative based in Ballinrobe, and the Scannán Technologies group, a group of film makers based in Ballina.
Since 2010, through the UPSTART initiative, Mayo County Council’s arts service has actively encouraged more artists, groups of people with disabilities, venues and arts organisations to come together and collaborate in the development of quality arts projects. People with disabilities, from children to older adults, have participated on UPSTART projects encompassing a wide range of art-forms. Arts and other support organisations throughout the county have established long term relationships with local artists and groups of people with disabilities and have also played their part in the development of the UPSTART initiative. Artistic quality is at the centre of UPSTART and there are a growing number of artists/facilitators throughout the county regularly engaging with groups of people with disabilities thus gaining valuable experience of working in the area of Arts and Disability.
In 2020, due to the Covid 19 restrictions, the arts service was unable to run the UPSTART programme. However, the arts service took the opportunity to review the programme. Consultant Susan Coughlan worked with Damien O’Connor, (arts and disability coordinator, a panel of artists, venue staff and representatives from support organisations to review the programme and make recommendations for the future.
It was felt that individuals with disabilities who had little or no experience of participating in arts and disability activity should be encouraged to apply to the programme and as restrictions were gradually lifted, a pilot programme entitled Kickstart was run. Six individuals from groups that had participated on previous UPSTART projects were supported to work on a one-to-one basis with artists and venues in a series of workshops in drumming, photography and painting. The UPSTART programme has now been re-launched and six projects are being supported this year.
Tim Morris’s foundry – how bronze is cast