Simon Community NI’s Portadown Project recently welcomed Garath Keating, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, along with other members of the community, at the launch of a new art installation created by clients staying in one of their temporary accommodation Projects in the area.
Adele Campbell, Coordinator & Office Manager of the Prison Arts Foundation said
“The artwork was the result of our ‘Inspiring Change in the Community’ programme funded by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, and the Arts Council NI. The ‘Inspiring Change’ programme aims to increase social inclusion by working with some of Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups of people at a pivotal point in their lives.”
During the programme, the Prison Arts Foundation Artist in Residence Cathy Moore delivered a series of 15 visual art workshops to a group of Simon Community NI clients. She delivered a structured programme of activity which helped the group overcome social isolation, promote social harmony, develop skills, build self-esteem and confidence, foster a sense of local pride and identity, share stories and encourage social connectedness.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:
“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is an advocate of the Prison Arts Foundation and we support their important work as it continues beyond the prison environment, engaging ex-offenders in arts activities. The arts offer a practical way of building confidence, a sense of purpose and civic pride, all which are essential to successful reintegration into society.”
The resulting outcome of these sessions was a large mosaic wall mural and smaller individual pieces of artwork created by each client. The collaborative wall mural will be placed in the communal garden of a Simon Community NI Project for clients and staff to enjoy.
Arlene Irvine, Simon Community NI Team Leader, said
“Our clients really enjoyed taking part in the creative art residency and it was of great benefit to them, offering something positive to focus on and develop as part of a team. We are grateful for the support of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the Arts Council NI and the Prison Arts Foundation in making this project happen, and we look forward to further collaborations in the future.”