News ID: 127466
Published: 0315 GMT September 22, 2015

Derry exhibit, a shining beacon in artistic talent

Derry exhibit, a shining beacon in artistic talent

An new art exhibition is open to the public in Derry from September 25 through October 9 at UK's Holywell Trust Building, showcasing the creative talents of a group of older people who have experienced mental ill-health.

The exhibition features an eclectic and mix of engaging artworks including reduction prints, paintings, photography and ceramics, wrote.

The display showcases works by members of the Beacon Wellbeing day center.

Beacon Wellbeing — a part of Niamh (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) — has been providing support for people in Derry experiencing mental ill-health for 23 years.

The center facilitates a wide range of activities throughout the year and opportunities for outreach trips, mainly during the summer period.

More recently, the center has expanded activities and now has an allotment at Ballougry Road which, with the support of a volunteer instructor, helps members engage in gardening and growing their own fruit and vegetables.

The allotment project has had the positive side effect of encouraging members to adopt healthier eating patterns as they enjoy the various crops that the allotment provides.

However, arts and crafts has always been one of the most popular activities in the center and is an area where Manager Alison Foley is always on the lookout for new ways in which to engage as many members as possible in connecting with their inner creativity as a means to both express themselves and promote a sense of personal pride and achievement.

This is what led Alison to apply to the Art Council of Northern Ireland's Arts and Older People Program.

Launched in June 2010, the program was established to increase opportunities for older people to engage with the arts. The 2013-2016 program aims to strengthen the voice of older people and promote positive mental health and emotional well-being through the arts.

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