Artworks created by children living with medical conditions will go on display in a series of exhibitions across Ireland this summer. Details of the exhibitions were announced today (11.05.22) by Helium Arts, a charity that works to transform the healthcare experience of young people through art and creative interventions.
Three exhibitions will take place over June and July – in Cork, Limerick and Galway. Each will showcase collaborations between professional artists and young participants in the programmes run by Helium in hospital and community healthcare settings.
Commenting today, Heléne Hugel, CEO of Helium Arts, said: “In Ireland, 11% of children live with a long-term health condition or disability and approximately 1% of all children – about 13,000 children – are seriously inhibited in their day-to-day lives. This can lead to significant social and emotional challenges for them.
“At Helium, we work with young people in healthcare and community settings to offer them art and other creative experiences with a view to improving their wellbeing and mental health. We are delighted to be launching a series of summer exhibitions today, which will celebrate the creative work of the children and artists involved while also highlighting the value of creativity for wellbeing.”
In addition to the exhibitions in Cork, Limerick and Galway, a ‘family sharing day’ will take place in each location with family friendly activities including creative clay work, stencil making, exploring cabinets of curiosity, animations and more. The dates and details for each location are as follows:
- Cork: An exhibition with the theme of ‘The Natural World, Found Objects and Tactile Processes of Making’ will take place in the Tory Top Library in Ballyphehane from 7th to 18th June. The exhibition is being facilitated by artist Ashleigh Ellis, who is based in Cork. It will feature pieces by Helium workshop participants aged six to 12. The Cork ‘family sharing day’ will take place on Saturday, 11th June.
- Limerick: An exhibition with the theme of ‘Objects of Wonder’ will run at Limerick City Gallery from 9th to 25th June. It is being facilitated by artist Chelsea Canavan, who is based in Limerick. It will feature artwork by Helium workshop participants aged nine to 12. The Limerick ‘family sharing day’ will take place on Saturday, 18th June.
- Galway: An exhibition on ‘Puppet Making: Transforming the Everyday into Something Extraordinary’ will run at the Westside Library from 29th June to 9th July. Facilitated by artist Sarah Fuller, it will feature artwork created by Helium workshop participants aged six to 12. The ‘family sharing day’ in Galway will take place on Saturday, 2nd July.
All exhibitions and associated events are open to the public, free of charge.
Case Study: Impact of Helium’s Work
At today’s launch of the exhibition series, the impact of the work done by Helium Arts was highlighted by Regina Sheehan, parent of Tiernan, who has phenylketonuria, hypothyroidism, hypermobility and deuteranopia.
“The impact Helium Arts has had on my child’s life has been immeasurable,” she said. “Art and creativity have brought positivity into Tiernan’s life during times when he was really struggling with his healthcare issues. Tiernan is now so excited to know that some of his artworks will be exhibited by Helium this summer. It is providing him with a real boost during what has been a particularly challenging period.”
Year-Round Work of Helium Arts
Since its establishment in 2010, Helium Arts has worked with over 5,000 young people across Ireland.
“Research shows that children with long-term health conditions are at increased risk of emotional and behavioural problems,” said Helium CEO Heléne Hugel. “They miss significant amounts of time in school – up to 50% of the school year in many cases – and their self-reported happiness levels are much lower than those of children without health issues. Our year-round work aims to address these challenges. By providing artistic and creative interventions for young people, we enhance their creative development and wellbeing, which in turns supports therapeutic and health outcomes. We also offer them a safe and supportive environment to connect with their peers, thereby lessening the feelings of loneliness, otherness or isolation often experienced by young people who have health challenges.”
Further information about the work of Helium Arts and the summer programme of exhibitions and ‘family sharing days’ is available at: www.helium.ie.