Such community engagement includes projects with the Sudanese community (funded by Waterford Area Partnership), Céim Eile and Aiséirí (recovering addiction services), Shine Discovery (mental health support organisation), Men’s Shed, Brothers of Charity and the Syrian community to name but a few. Following on from attending the Arts Council of Ireland’s Places Matter Conference, GOMA is excited by the potential expansion of these projects going forward.
Beyond the Gallery is an example of a programme that has run successfully and is scheduled to continue in 2020. For GOMA, it is important to work closely with both artists and the wider community. Beyond the Gallery is a community-based project that works with three different social groups annually. The groups included to date are Céim Eile, GOMA studio artists, Shine Discovery, Men’s Shed and Fadó in the past. In 2002, Céim Eile, meaning Another Step, was founded by Aiséirí to provide continuing care for clients if required. A major focus of the service is to assist clients’ reintegration with their families and other broader aspects of society.
In 2020, a group of sixteen participants from Céim Eile will be facilitated with art workshops once a week for sixteen weeks at GOMA during which time they will create artwork from waste or recycled materials.
Independently, craft workers from the Men’s Shed responded to their finished work and created their own pieces. The project aims to use real-life knowledge and skills of participants to create an exhibition where the focus is not primarily on the work created but on the process of making the work itself. One of the main aims of the project is to give participants the opportunity to showcase existing talents and to learn new skills. The response of participants and facilitators has been extremely positive in the past.
Since the project began three years ago we have seen participants enrolled in art college and two studio artists secured permanent work with Céim Eile and Aiséirí recovery services. Artwork from groups is programmed to be exhibited in GOMA with an open view of the site-specific project in 2020 not to frame the outcome of this engaging project.