First published: Winter 2015
Since 1984, the Glasgow-based visual arts organisation Project Ability has offered expert tuition to people with disabilities and mental ill-health of all abilities who want to make art and express themselves creatively. Over the past 30 years, an inclusive, positive and accessible environment that focuses on the attendees has been created, where artworks are shown and sold.
Ceramic work in progress (Cauliflower) by Cameron Morgan, 2015, at Project Ability, Glasgow
The organisation runs three main programmes: Aspire, a workshop for adults with learning disabilities; ReConnect, a programme for adults with experience of mental ill-health; and Create, which caters for budding artists with disabilities, aged five to 28. Some funding comes from central and local government, and there is support from numerous trusts and foundations. To round it off, participants in the programmes pay a weekly charge to attend.
Every week between Monday and Saturday, about 250 people use the studios and the professional materials and tuition that are provided. The large, open-plan studio in Project Ability’s headquarters at Trongate 103 has a community feel and is an ideal setting in which to work. Hundreds of artworks are produced by their participants each term, much of which is professionally exhibited.