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Blog - Learning Disabled Art Studios

ArtStudio01 Exhibition and Sharing Day news


Friday 12 April saw the sharing event as part of Tanya’s research into learning disabled art studios around the UK and Finland. It also saw the launch of the ‘ArtStudio01: New Ways’ exhibition in Participate Contemporary Studios, Shrewsbury, co-curated by Tanya and Jennifer.

The opening of the sharing day

For those that couldn’t make the sharing event, it was live streamed on ArtStudio01’s Facebook page and BSL interpreted. You can watch it here:

Tanya shared a photo diary and drawings from each studio visited across 2018, giving a brief insight into each studio. Key information Tanya shared from the visits included:

  • That every studio works supportively with the individual, whether that be 1-2-1 or in group settings
  • The importance of archiving work and documenting it professionally
  • Being able to showcase artwork outside of the studio in different settings
  • The issues around payments to artists on benefits if work sells, or if they run workshops – and that this needs to be tackled at Government level

Tanya sharing photos from her visits

Tanya spoke of a period of reflection for Artstudio01 and time to implement other best practice she had learnt from the visits. She also spoke of adopting a temporary co-Director approach, much like ActionSpace in London, to see if this works for ArtStudio01. Jackie Cooley will be taking up this position.

Neil Webber has created a new website for the studio, with artist statements, and photos of the artists and their artworks. You can find that here:

Krisstel sharing her watercolour techniques

Krisstel Bentley ran her first workshop for those attending the afternoon, saying afterwards that she can’t wait to run one again. Krisstel shared her watercolour techniques, getting people to try out her style, in the materials that she likes to use. Krisstel said “I felt really chuffed about how the workshop went. I’m looking forward to doing another one.” Other ArtStudio01 artists who were working on their work during the studio tours commented on their thoughts of the day. Richard said, “It was good meeting up with Mike from DASH who I haven’t seen in years!” Dan said, “There were loads of interesting talks by other artists”. Tristan said, “ I enjoyed telling the visitors about the other ArtStudio01 artists work in the exhibition and was surprised that our work sold again!”

Cameron from Project Ability talking about his residency

Four external artists who have been mentored by Tanya spoke about their works and the experience. This included: Sarah Watson from Figment Arts in Brighton, Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson from the Blue Room in Liverpool and Gina Smith from Birmingham. Artist-in-residence for the week, Cameron Morgan, spoke of what he had been up to, about trying out a new medium, liquid charcoal, and of his enjoyment of exploring the sights of Shrewsbury.

Tanya, Abid from ACE and Jim from Project Ability

The day ended with Abid Hussain from the Arts Council receiving his portrait from Tanya, which had been two years in the making. He said that he felt honoured and that it would go up in the Arts Council offices. Of the sharing event he said that he had seen that each artist on that day had been given respect and how powerful that was. He then declared the exhibition open, with everyone being able to take a look at the works by the external artists as well as all the artists involved with ArtStudio01.

The exhibition closed at 5pm on Saturday 27 April 2019. Thanks to Hunter and Day for photographing the day.


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