Two Dublin artists chosen for new exhibition by artists with intellectual disabilities 

by Rose Barrett

Two Dublin Artists have been chosen to participate in an inaugural exhibition to platform artists with intellectual disabilities.

Tara Leech from Mount Merrion and David Singleton from Kilmainham are amongst ten Artists chosen by Connections Arts Centre (CAC) to participate in the bold and innovative exhibition to be held later next weekend.

The exhibition will be hosted at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, at St Stephen’s Green, to run from June 26 to June 29, from 3-6pm.

Tara, who attends day-care centres in Greenacres and Templeogue says she is highly “enthused about the upcoming exhibition”.

“It’s great to have my work exhibited, I work hard at my art so it’s really a good to have it on show”.

For his part, David Singleton says: “I have always been interested in Art and won some Texaco prizes when I was young. I use a variety of materials but mostly use water -pens on paper or acrylics on canvas -board. I mostly like to finish paintings in one go”. 

“I really like strong stained glass type colours and use them a lot. I have been doing a lot of faces. I am influenced by Picasso and lately Jawlinsky”.

David Singleton painting

“I love Mexican style paintings and look them up on the web and base some of my work on them. I love their strong colours and patterns. I visited Mexico in 2010 and I loved it”. 

David says the Connections Arts Centre has been very uplifting for him.

“I loved being part of the programme and got some new ideas that I am trying out. I did a collage which is something I didn’t do before. I would like to stay in touch with the group when the exhibition is over.”

Connections Arts Centre, dedicated to connecting members of the Disability community through the arts was the brainchild of Miriam Spollen, a long-time advocate of, and worker in the Arts and Disability sector.

“I lost my job in 2021 due to Covid, but really it was a blessing in disguise as I now had time to develop a business idea that I had been contemplating for over 10 years. In the mist of Covid, Connections Arts Centre (an online platform) was developed to connect and support people with disabilities through the Arts”.

“In March 22 ‘Connections Arts Centre’ (CAC), opened its base in Rathgar in Dublin, where they now run a selection of Training, Arts, and lifestyle programmes”.

“We have supported 600 participants since our inception just last year; this has been a mixture of online and in person and it has been so rewarding and encouraging to see the engagement and enthusiasm by participants. We have worked with and supported participants from organisations such as Enable Irelands, Rehab, Walk, Gheel Autism services and more.”

Connecting Artists 2022 was developed when Miriam spotted a need to support and highlight the work of artists with intellectual disabilities from all over Ireland.

“This programme provides an immersive, supportive and interactive environment for artists with intellectual disabilities, empowering then to develop their creative practice and to hone their natural talents. The exhibition at the RCSI is showcasing the work of ten Artists who participated in the online programme”. But this is not then end for these Artist, they are developing their own collective and will continue to meet monthly online with the support of CAC.

“There is a wonderful atmosphere amongst our online community, the artists feel part of a wider arts world which feeds their wonderful creativity and imagination. It has been great to see such positive energy and community amongst the artists.”

Venue: Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, 123 St. Stephen’s Green D 2  

June 26- 29, 3-6pm.

MAIN PHOTO – David Singleton painting

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