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Outdoor Group Art Exhibition in a Residential Care Setting Dublin

Arts in Healthcare is a little recognised, but expanding and important area in Ireland today, having the potential to transform healthcare experiences and societal health through the Arts.
I was fortunate to gain valuable and enjoyable experience in this field while working as a Creativity Facilitator for a year in a Residential Care Hospital in Dublin in 2014. 
This post gives a brief overview of a wonderful and innovative summer long Outdoor Art Exhibition which we curated in the hospital courtyard.

Some of our residents chose to give a comment on their input into this show - 
I have included these in itallics.

"Pillowcase project"

"Love" - Mosaic on wood.

Comment by artist

 Our "Outdoor Art Exhibition" was especially popular, so I am uploading some images of this event, which will give a flavour of some of the work we made.

"Blue Tree" - Watercolour on weatherproofed paper.

Comment from artists involved -

 “ I have enjoyed painting and drawing since I was a teenager. I remember being inspired by my father. When I paint, I feel a connection with my father. I loved him.””

“I like doing Arts and Crafts. When I see results, it’s lovely, - to know we can make something out of nothing.

From Springtime onwards,

 our Arts team worked towards a creative project with a difference , an “Outdoor Arts Exhibition”.

"Pillowcase project"

Comments from artists involved in this project -

 “ I have no background in Art. I enjoyed painting my pillowcase. I found it very relaxing. I decided to paint the purple flowers, because I love the colour purple. “

 “ I’m from Gweedore in Co Donegal. I always loved planting things and seeing them come to fruition. I never held a brush before because I had no interest in Art. I’m glad I painted the pillowcase – it turned out better than I thought it would.”

 This outdoor project  caught the imagination, interest and enthusiasm of many of our residents, as we made time to create artpieces from recyclable and upcyclable materials. These materials were often donated by staff members, patient relatives, and visitors who are all responded warmly to this project.

"Autumn leaves"
Leaves from trees from the hospital grounds.

Comments from artists involved -

“ I did some crafts all my life. I am inspired by nature, and am always amazed what can happen with very few materials”

“ I love pottery and painting. It’s important to me that I can use my hands. I like to put my visions into my work. “

Patients who couldn't  make it to our weekly workshops, due to illness or confinement to bed were often included by Art Cart visits, - their interests supported at the bedside.

" Mount Fuji and Flowers collage" inspired by David Hockney print

"I like to have mental exercise to compensate for my lack of physical exercise. ”

Fun, friendships, learning, confidence, social outlets, expression and reflection were all encouraged and enjoyed in the months coming up to this exhibition through our workshops.

Much creativity by John in our polytunnel

" John was with us for many years, and was a very talented artist. He had a great unique style, and brought a smile to all our faces.”

  Patients or residents in hospital situations usually have little say in their own care. Doctors prescribe drugs, physiotherapists develop exercise programmes, nurses and carers look after personal needs of patients and the list goes on.

 Arts in Healthcare can offer time and space to a patient where they can express their own voice or creativity, and thus contribute to their healing process.

"Origami family"

Comment from artist -

 “I am a genius, except I don’t really know it. I consider myself a lifesize piece of Origami. I adored doing Origami classes  every Sunday a a teenager”
 In Ireland, there has been a slow, but growing acceptance over the past twenty years, of the transformative creative work which healthcare and community professionals and artists have initiated in their own spheres of responsibility by introducing art projects.

" Birdfeeder"

 However, it is true that most health professionals and members of community do not have an understanding of the potential benefits of Arts in Community and in Healthcare.

" The Weave of Life" - collective paper weaving.

I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of what is possible, and are inspired !

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