Irish Wheelchair Association’s Athlone art group members recently launched an art exhibition at Fernhill Garden Centre in Athlone, with the help of Mayor of Athlone, Frankie Keena.
The new exhibition, which showcases handcrafted paintings by members of Athlone’s Irish Wheelchair Association, will be on display within the garden centre for the next several weeks. The exhibition with the theme A Walk in the Woods features paintings with an array of beautiful trees, foliage, and nature that are close to the artists’ hearts.
The art group meets once a week as part of an arts and craft programme at Irish Wheelchair Association’s Resource and Outreach Centre. The programme, sponsored by the Longford Westmeath Educational and Training Board, has been led by local art teacher Paula Sharkey for the past 10 years. Sharkey, whose slogan is “every artist began as an amateur”, has had a significant role in nurturing Irish Wheelchair Association amateurs into professional artists.
Irish Wheelchair Association member, Mary Gaynor said: “I am privileged to be part of this group. The arts and crafts programme in Irish Wheelchair Association Athlone has provided me with an outlet for my creativity and has expanded and further developed my artistic skills. We have wanted to display our work for the last few years, so we practised and practised.
“We have now achieved our exciting dream. Paula, our art teacher, brings the best out in everyone. I love going to class and I have made so many friends at Irish Wheelchair Association. It’s really great there.”
Monica Hughes, Irish Wheelchair Association, service coordinator in Athlone said: “I am really proud of our members. They have wanted to display their art for a long time now, so I encouraged them to develop their skills until they produced high-quality stuff.
“Their dream to have a public exhibition seemed just that, a dream. With sheer determination and hard work, they began to create art at such an amazingly high level and now their work is on display in Fernhill Garden Centre. More importantly, the art group is therapeutic and a community, while also producing beautiful pieces of art. I am so very proud of them.”
To visit Athlone Irish Wheelchair Associations art exhibition drop into Fernhill Garden Centre, on the Ballymahon Rd in Cornanmagh between 9am and 6pm.