Across eight weeks, between the 20th of September and the 18th of October, a series of 16 free art and wellness workshops for young people were facilitated in The Old Courthouse in Ballyjamesduff by Kim Doherty of The Well Within. Classes took place on Monday evenings with younger kids (under 15) attending at 7 pm for one hour and older young people (15 and over) attending from 8 pm - 9 pm. Classes were free of charge but required pre-registration to allow us to comply with the COVID-19 regulations at the time.
To accommodate this, each class ran as a drop-in service and had a unique topic and value to that day. Each class involved encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modelling. Also included were exercises that built personal development and well-being skills such as optimism, self-confidence, gratitude, hope, empathy and self-compassion. Each lesson also explored and promoted the resources available within the community and national level to support good mental health. All supplies needed for the class were supplied.
Subjects and works explored throughout the classes were then used to design a mural that would hang over the boarded-up windows of the now derelict Percy French Hotel. This location was chosen as it is a gloomy corner in the centre of the town. The new mural brightened the area considerably and symbolised hope and brighter days. The central location also demonstrated that being proactive toward your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of and that well-being is a safe and proud topic.
An infographic explaining the project was also designed to accompany the mural. The designs can be seen below.
Swipe below for a before and after of the mural site!
To celebrate the mural installation, Teach Solais partnered with Cavan Arts Office and organised the showing of "Portals of Wellbeing", a Cavan-made immersive digital art projection in The Old Courthouse, inviting attendees and their families. Many attendees were The Wonder Youth Theatre members, so they were asked to showcase snippets from their upcoming musical, Snow White. As many participants were involved in Bounce Back Youth Service, they were invited to display their beautiful 'Keys of Life' piano project, an art installation that celebrates the diversity and social history of Ballyjamesduff by preserving local stories from across generations. There were teas, sandwiches and cakes available for all attendees and yourmentalhealth.ie promotional materials provided by HSE Connecting for Life, were also displayed and distributed.
It was a very successful community event, and the mural was
warmly received by the young people who designed it and the community at large.