Aug 2020

This is Me - Visual Art Diary  workshop finished

This is Me! - A remotely delivered children's art project. A collaborative art project with students from Scoíl Íosa National School, Ballina, Co Mayo andVisual Artist Cas Mc Carthy. Funded by the Arts Council COVID 19 Crisis Response Award June 2020.

Cick on links below to see full book!!- 
Brigitta- Natalia- Maria- Olaf- Patrycia- Robert- Tomasz-

During the height of the Covid 19 national restrictions in early June 2020 a small and wonderful art project took place. Eight children from Scoil Íosa, Ballina, worked via the internet with Visual Artist Cas McCarthy to each create a  colour filled visual art journal.  The project entitled This Is Me! explored identity and belonging using a specific approach via mark making, printing, colour exploration and drawing enquiry. Children worked remotely over a ten day stint to realise this project with the support of their four teachers who steadily encouraged this burst of creativity.The art works produced are a joyful expression of each child's life during a time of intense unpredictability. 
At the outset, children received two shoe boxes each, which contained specific art materials, a variety of interesting art paper and a Dr Seuss book, My Many Coloured Days. Artist Cas McCarthy devised 8 video lessons which were tailored for particular visual activities with explanations and demonstrations using the range of art materials that were provided to each child in the shoe box. The videos were devised to help facilitate 
the children's engagement with the project as due to Covid restrictions the artist could not meet face to face with the children. The children's teachers, Claire Mitchell, Gemma Kenny, Mary Coyle and Yvonne Mahady worked with the children to make the project possible, during a difficult time when teacher student engagement had also to be via the internet. Parents were so important in this project, facilitating their children to carry out the messy and expressive work of art making! Galway based educator Holly Mullarkey was an advisor to the project and video and technical assistance was provided by Cathal McCarthy.Claire Mitchell ,Scoil Íosa coordinated the project.

Holly Mullarkey Educator and Project Advisor 
“The world of reality has its limits ,the world of the imagination is boundless.” -  Rousseau
In these Covid times of social isolation, looking for ways of reaching out to touch our friends and community, like tree branches reaching for light, art provides the transcendent language. This is Me! visual art project has 
invited children to celebrate their uniqueness and share their presence with the world through a visual diary.The freedom to express your existence in a visual diary is reminiscent of the diary of Ann Frank who was in 
enforced isolation but wrote with such animation to an imaginary friend in her diary. 8 children have shared their visual journals with the community here on Ballina Arts Centre's website at a time when they are without a 
playground, a school, a church , a cafe , a birthday party. Their diaries are a visual record of who they are and how they feel during Covid 19. 

Claire Mitchell, 5th Class Teacher and Art Project Coordinator Scoil Íosa
As we were all coming to terms with staying at home and learning online, we at Scoil Íosa were delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this most enjoyable and timely art project. 
The objectives of the project are central to the aims of the visual arts curriculum, which is such an important and enriching part of our school work.They were delivered in a very engaging and purposeful way by Visual Artist Cas McCarthy. 
Through the media of drawing, print, collage, paint and colour, the children were guided through a series of explorations starting with themselves in their homes and extending to their immediate outdoor environment.  They were encouraged to experiment with a variety of different art materials to express their ideas and experiences. While they were learning a lot in terms of skills and techniques, they had the chance to reflect on their situation and look at the world around them in a fresh and exciting way.  Each journal is a unique and 
personal response, full of imagination and creativity. It is obvious, when you look at the journals, that the children really enjoyed the project and have produced beautiful, artistic mementos of Lockdown 2020!

Sean Walsh, Director of Ballina Arts Centre 
“It has been great to see a project like ‘This is Me!’ offering a creative lifeline to these children from the Ballina area. The period of lockdown has been unsettling and frightening for children, and it is great to see the reassuring presence of art and creativity giving them solace in this time. The books that the students have made are fantastic works of art, and show how their great depth of talent and imagination can help them make 
sense of the world and their very important place in it. Projects like this are so important – at any time, but especially in times such as we have all gone through. Ballina Arts Centre is delighted to have been able to support this project, even in a small way. Well done to Cas and the guys!”