School of the Divine Child, Ballintemple, pupils Siobhán Geurin, Scarlett Beecher, Sarah Dorney and Jodie Lynch at an Art Brings Us Together workshop. Photo: Alison Miles/OSM PHOTO

Where art thou?

A new art initiative aims to enhance the lives of young people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Telus International Ireland, with offices in Mahon, has partnered with Macroom School of Art on a the art initiative called Art Brings Us Together by Telus International.

Launched in November 2022, the programme was created to encourage artistic expression in children and young people with physical or intellectual disabilities. These sessions provide an engaging environment for young art enthusiasts to produce their own bespoke pieces of art, demonstrating its many positive impacts and benefits.

Irish illustrator Will Sliney, who is also its ambassador, said: “It has been such an enjoyable experience getting to work with these incredible schools and young artists. Many people don’t realise the effect these workshops have on young people with a disability; creative art therapies for children with additional needs have numerous benefits and can stimulate new behaviours, skills, expressions and emotions that can then be applied to everyday life.

“Art is obviously a huge passion of mine and being able to give back and make a positive impact on the lives of these young people has been particularly rewarding.”

Principal of School of the Divine Child, Lavanagh Centre, Fiona Thomas said: “The students have thoroughly enjoyed the process. For people with learning disabilities, art therapy offers an opportunity for self-expression. Art can be a way to communicate for people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.

“It offers a creative and enjoyable way to communicate without restrictions, without worries of being judged as there is no such thing as failing when you create art. This process gives them a sense of accomplishment and builds their self-confidence.”