Monday, 25 February 2019

Celf o Gwmpas – Reaching Out, Drawing In

Maud & Pauline beneath a display of their artwork
Last week I attended the opening of this truly inspiring exhibition at Centre Celf in Llandrindod Wells. We originally wrote about one of the art organisation’s workshops for people living with dementia in Looking at me – an arts and dementia initiative - in 2017 in the early days of the project. 

This exhibition – "Reaching Out, Drawing In" - is the result of all the many workshops that have taken place over the past two years, for people living with dementia and learning disabled adults. 

Anne Evans is the chair of Celf o Gwmpas, and she told us more about the show:

In 2017 Celf o Gwmpas received funding from the Arwain LEADER programme for an ambitious project piloting new ways of delivering arts workshops to adults with a learning disability and people living with dementia and their carers.

We partnered this with funding from the Arts Council of Wales to run four residencies for artists with disabilities; two engagement residencies bringing to Powys highly regarded artists such as Helen Ivory and Ira Lightman, and a ground-breaking digital residency linking, in real time, with Canadian learning-disabled artist Scott Berry and participants with learning disabilities here.

We have run 174 workshop sessions, with an average attendance of 7 per workshop, and provided around 1218 places with this funding. It’s phenomenal really. Participants have experienced a huge range of art forms, developed skills in making and have taken up opportunities to explore aspects of their own lives through art. 

Artist Jane Mason worked with learning disabled adults in Tile Tales

The creativity really is amazing. We’ve had print making, puppet-making, film and animation, tile making, mosaics, watercolour painting, sewing and quilting, linocuts, multi-media personal mapping, poetry, instrument making and creative bird box construction. 

The Tile Tales ceramics workshops followed the story of tile making and explored ancient and modern decorative techniques to create two dimensional and relief designs out of clay.

In Dreamlands and Landscapes learning disabled adults worked with Vagabondi Puppets to explore their fears and dreams with puppeteer and sculptress Jo Munton using different techniques and materials.

Ruth Hogg, Project Coordinator, playing drums made from recycled materials
Some of the women in this wonderful project looked at what they were wearing when they were 25 years old in Fashion Memories: When we were 25. Artists Jane Titley and Annie Levy worked with people living with dementia to create quilted pieces using patterns and costumes which I remember from my childhood. The quality and creativity is excellent.

People may be living with dementia or as a learning-disabled adult, but that does not stop them from being artistic, creative and having skills that really should be shown which tells us about who they are. 

In the mosaic workshops participants worked with artist Terri Sweeney
Celf o Gwmpas is at the forefront of arts and health work in Powys, based on a 21 year history of working with socially excluded people and mentoring artists living with physical and learning disabilities, mental health difficulties and other ‘outsider’ experiences. 

We do a lot of work on very small amounts of money, and there are very few staff. This year we are starting up a membership scheme, so you can pay a small amount of money per month to support the work Celf o Gwmpas does such as offering arts activities like these.

You can continue to enjoy the exhibition until 4 April 2019 but gallery opening times are variable so please ring for details on 01597 822777 or email:

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