A collaborative public artwork created by adults with learning disabilities, professional artists and local community groups in Orkney will be unveiled on Monday (October 22).
The artwork is the result of a project launched in 2017 aimed at providing users of the Lifestyles Service access to a wide range of creative workshops.
The project was designed jointly by the Orkney Islands Council’s Arts Development Service and the Lifestyle Service managed by Orkney Health and Care which supports adults with learning disabilities in the county.
The artwork will be formally unveiled at the Lifestyles Centre at 2pm at a gathering of friends, family and staff to celebrate the project.
‘Flying High’ comprises 8 large canvases. The artwork will remain on permanent display at the Lifestyles Service, taking full advantage of the impressive central octogen with its vaulted glass ceiling and natural light.
Local artist Sheena Graham George and Ullapool-based artist Angelica Kroeger were commissioned to carry out the project, which has included several hands-on workshops with service users from the Lifestyles Service along with partner organisations Connect, SEAL and the Blide Trust.
Those involved have already had a taste of exhibiting through a ‘work in progress’ showcase of creative material generated through the project which was displayed at the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness and at the Pickaquoy Centre in April this year.
Antony Mottershead is the Council’s Arts Officer. He says everyone involved is delighted with how the project has gone: “The project has been a great success – it’s brought together a diverse group of people to create - there was no preconceived idea of how the project might evolve, only an emphasis on people exploring their creative interests and skills in a supported way.
“Angelica and Sheena have brought their own art practices to the table whilst service users have had the opportunity to explore everything from sculpture to printmaking to painting. What stands out is the power of art to connect people”.
Ross Groundwater, Lifestyles Service Manager is similarly pleased with the project: “From the initial thought gathering, workshops, design and creation, through to the final installation of the artwork, it has been a hugely positive collaborative journey for all those involved in the project.
“We’ve seen many people making very good friendships, having fun and importantly developing new life long skills along the way, leaving a bright and vibrant legacy from the work created.”
Supporting around 40 adults, the Lifestyles Service provides modern, flexible, community-based services to meet the wide-ranging needs of service users.
The building, which opened in 2015 and is situated at the Pickaquoy Centre includes an IT suite, meeting facilities, activity rooms, a multi-sensory space, an outdoor garden and provides easy access to the sports and leisure facilities at the Pickaquoy Centre, Orkney’s largest health and leisure facility. It promotes community involvement with the service, offering people with learning disabilities opportunities to be involved in their wider community, promoting health, wellbeing and independence.
This project was part funded by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme’; and Orkney Islands Council.