Cloch and Oak Tree open exhibition of local community art

(from left) Eleanor Robertson, Paul McVey, Nick Jardine, Lisa Lees, Duncan Wilson, Liz Bowden, Hazel Aitken, Sam MacGregor

The culmination of six month’s worth of art work by four local communities in Greenock has been displayed at an exhibition in Auchmountain Community Hall.

The colourful display of zen colouring, print work and mosaics was open to all local people to view and was opened by the director of Cloch Housing Association, Paul McVey, and the chief executive of Oak Tree Housing Association, Nick Jardine.

Funded by the European Social Fund’s Aspiring Communities Fund, the ArtWorks project set out to meet and engage with local housing association tenants in Strone, Maukinhill, Pennyfern and Bowfarm areas of Greenock. The idea behind the project was to use art to talk to tenants who might otherwise go under the radar of the housing associations.

The fund paid for a community development worker, Lisa Lees, to work with Cloch Housing Association and Oak Tree Housing Association to bring art and chat to these communities. It also funded two artists, Sam MacGregor and Duncan Wilson, who were employed by local socially engaged art company, Rig Arts.

The six months work included sessions for residents on mosaics, zen colouring, costume making, printing and window art. The outcome was that the project talked to 143 local people about what they like in their local community and what they would like to happen in the future.

A video was also taken of residents talking about their experiences of living in these Greenock Community.

The final part of the project will be the production of Art Master Plans for all the areas, suggesting ways of building on the success of the six month project.

Paul McVey, director of Cloch Housing Association said: “This work has helped us find out the opinions of local tenants who we might not otherwise have spoken to. We were delighted with the art work and will look at the surveys carried out, to hopefully keep the conversation going.”

Nick Jardine, chief executive of Oaktree Housing Association, said, “This has been a very positive project and it has brought our tenants together and allowed them to try new things, meet new people and tell us what is important to them in their community. The work they have produced looks fantastic.”

Karen Orr, manager of Rig Arts, said: “Creativity enables people to express themselves in fun and informal ways, helping to break down barriers and to build community spirit. The community Artworks Project has shared skills and started an initial discussion with residents which has provided invaluable information on which to build.”

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