The Walls Project are working hard to deliver its European funded arts project- Murals for Communities, even during these difficult times of Covid 19.
Murals for Communities puts Waterford on the European map as leader in the area of mural arts, as Waterford City is the lead partner in this arts project.
Murals for Communities is a Creative Europe funded initiative where six mural artists facilitate workshops with community and businesses groups and then paint mural artwork in three cities-Waterford, Heerlen (Netherlands) and Kaunas (Lithuania). This is a two year project and 2020 sees the second and final leg of this initiative with Waterford kicking off the programme this coming August 5-15.
Since the outbreak of Covid 19, The Walls Project team have been busy preparing for the delivery of this mural arts programme, which will look a lot different due to the challenges which social distancing brings. A total overhaul has had to be done to ensure the delivery of this arts programme. These changes facing the team are to bring the facilitated workshops and presentations online as well as the guided art tours. The biggest concern for The Walls Project team is around the area of artists travelling from The Netherlands and Lithuania to Waterford as these three are the artists who paint the three murals with the community groups.
A new plan has been organised which gives local artists the unique opportunity to work and collaborate with other European artists. The artists from Lithuania and The Netherlands will facilitate the workshops with the community groups remotely and then draw up a sketch which incorporates these ideas. These artists will then collaborate online with local Waterford artists to paint the artworks in Waterford City. What is created is an artist exchange and collaborative programme, which is what Murals for Communities is all about.
Speaking on the preparations for the second leg of this initiative, project administrator Cristina Ciampiaglione says, “We are working hard to ensure the successful delivery of this initiative this year. Our artists are looking forward to working with the community groups to produce mural artwork. The business groups are looking forward to the ideas which our artists will present to them to show how mural artwork can improve their business.
“Murals for Communities is an interesting and exciting project to work on as you can really see first hand the benefits of what art can bring to the community and all the people involved are really enthusiastic. It is a great opportunity for me as an administrator to work on a community arts project like this.”
The artists involved
Irish Transnational Mural Artist:
Aches is a graffiti writer from Dublin, Ireland. His work focuses heavily on hand styles and he draws his influence from the digital age. His use of subtractive and additive colour theory can be seen in his letter pieces, murals and on canvas, bringing a cohesive flow between his outdoor and studio work. Aches is one of Ireland’s best-known street artists and is delighted to be the artist chosen for the 2020 leg of this initiative.
Aches is the Transnational mural artist – travelling mural artist – and executor of the mural artworks in each city involved – Waterford, Kaunas, Heerlen. His role consists in engaging with the community groups involved in the workshop programme in each city to transform their ideas into artworks.
Local Mentor Mural Artist
Niall O’Lochlainn is an Irish based Illustrator, Street Artist and Art Teacher. His characters evoke faces we’ve all seen on the streets of Waterford. Niall has worked with many organisations and artists in the street art and graffiti scene and has painted at the Waterford Walls Festival over the past 4 years.
Magda is a Polish Street Artist and illustrator, Waterford based. Magda considers people her major inspiration. Magda has extensive experience in facilitating workshops and community arts projects. Regarding her involvement in the project Magda said “I am delighted to be part of Murals for Communities, what I love the most about this project is the possibility to explore communication with different community groups, giving them the opportunity to have their voices visually represented in murals that they can admire in the city.”
Cristina Ciampaglione is an Artist and Art Professional based in Ireland. Living between Waterford City and Dublin City, she has a keen interest in all aspects related to the world of arts and culture.
The community groups involved
A relevant role within the Murals for Communities initiative is played by the artists engaging with community groups involved each year. The main goal is to give the community groups involved a chance to have their voice represented in the city through mural artworks. The team of artists during the workshop activities will engage with them asking questions and generating a debate that will bring ideas to be painted on the city walls.
The first group participating in Waterford are the Aiséirí Céim Éile, a secondary treatment centre based in Waterford city for men and women recovering from addiction. A significant element of the programme they offer involves a holistic education programme which includes art, yoga, acupuncture and drama.
The second group are the users of the Vita community hub. The Vita community hub offers its service users a range of support and opportunities which will help them to develop in their lives and achieve their personal goals.
The third group are the residents of Killure Bridge Nursing Home. The Nursing Home provides all the residents with as much home comfort as possible, while still encouraging independent living in conjunction with their every service.