Peter’s artwork will be on display at the Royal College of Surgeons

An artist from County Wexford has been chosen to take part in an inaugural exhibition showcasing the work of artists with intellectual disabilities.

eter Kehoe from Bridgetown is one of ten artists selected by the Connections Arts Center for exhibition later this month at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

Peter enjoys painting wildlife, usually animals and birds in their natural habitat, as well as seascapes and landscapes in watercolors and acrylics.

He said he tries to express a positive outlook through his works and emphasizes this through bright, cheerful colors. My style of work is bold shapes and brightly colored lines.

He enjoyed working on the Connections project and found the tutor and other artists very helpful.

“I am very proud to exhibit my work at the Royal College of Surgeons. It is an honor to be part of the Connections Art Center and a pleasure to work with such fantastic artists and see their brilliant works.

“I have been making art since I was a child. The artists who inspire me are Picasso, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. My favorite painting is Sunflowers by Van Gogh”.

Connections Arts Center was first created as an online platform dedicated to connecting members of the disability community through the arts and was the brainchild of Miriam Spollen, a long-time advocate and worker in the sector arts and disability.

“I lost my job in 2021 due to Covid, but it really was a blessing in disguise as I now had time to develop a business idea that I had been considering for over 10 years. In the mist of the Covid,” she explained.

“Connections Arts Center was created to connect and support people with disabilities through the arts. In March this year, CAC opened a base in Rathgar, Dublin to run training and arts and lifestyle programmes.

“We have supported 600 participants since our inception last year through a mix of online and in-person activities and it has been so rewarding and encouraging to see the commitment and enthusiasm of the participants.”

Connections Arts Center has worked with participants from organizations such as Enable Ireland, REhab, Walk, Gheel Autism and other services.

Connecting Artists 2022 was developed when Miriam identified the need to showcase the work of artists with intellectual disabilities from across Ireland.

The program offers an immersive and interactive curriculum for artists with intellectual abilities to develop their creative practice and hone their natural talents.

The exhibition at RCSI features the work of ten artists who participated in the online program and who are encouraged to form their own collective to continue to meet monthly online with the support of CAC.

“There is a wonderful atmosphere within our online community, artists feel part of a larger artistic world that feeds their wonderful creativity and imagination. It’s great to see such positive energy and such community among artists,” Miriam said.

“It’s so gratifying to see so many artists supporting each other and developing their practice. It’s about connecting and building artists’ confidence, helping them develop and hone their natural creativity, and showcasing their incredible talents to the wider community, all while breaking down barriers.

Miriam said there has been a very positive reaction to the upcoming exhibition.

“It’s a wonderful achievement for the artists themselves first and foremost, and we’re really encouraged by the response we’re getting from the general public, both corporate and community.”

The program was sponsored by the Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts.

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