Connections Arts Centre at the RHA

Friday 16 February – Sunday 28 April 2024
Niamh Eldridge-Barry | Connections Arts Centre at the RHA | Friday 16 February – Sunday 28 April 2024 | Royal Hibernian Academy | Image: Niamh Eldridge-Barry | The artist is displaying a framed painting on an easel; the painting is a realistic depiction of a what is probably a river scene on a bright day; there are strong shadows of rocks on flat red soil in the foreground; hills stacking towards the horizon, the nearest treed; the sun is level with the top of the hills, and it leaves a band of bright light in the water, stretching towards the viewer 

This CA Collective exhibition is the inaugural occasion for a collective of artists living with intellectual disabilities to showcase their work at the RHA and marks a groundbreaking moment in the art world.

The CA Collective is a vital arm of the Connections Arts Centre (CAC), a non-profit entity dedicated to empowering the disability community in Ireland through art, heritage, and cultural activities.

Exhibiting artists include: Alan Tarpey, Amy Begley, Amy Clarke, Clement Yang, David Singleton, Jennifer Humphries, Jenny Stafford, Jessica Londi, Mark Buckley, Matthew Sexton, Niamh Eldridge-Barry, Peter Kehoe, Samuel Hillard and Thomas Higgins.

The CA Collective acts as a dynamic online hub that promotes artistic exploration and collaboration, both within the disability community and the broader society. This unique space allows artists to express their individuality and cultural identity, showcasing and selling their work and emerged from the desire to maintain the bond and continue the artistic growth of individuals who completed the Connecting Artists Programme.

This exhibition is a testament to CAC’s commitment to supporting these artists, offering them a platform to exhibit their work and actively engage in the wider arts community. Presenting their work at the RHA signifies a significant step in their artistic journey, contributing to a shift in societal perceptions by transforming views on the value and importance of artists with intellectual disabilities. The tangible impact of exhibitions are evident in the personal growth of the artists, their art sales, participation in solo exhibitions, workshop facilitation, public talks, and contractual engagements.

Connections Arts Centre (CAC) stands as a beacon of support and empowerment for the disability community in Ireland. As a non-profit organisation, its mission is to champion art, heritage, and cultural activities that bridge gaps, counteract devaluation, and promote inclusivity for artists with disabilities. CAC operates on three guiding principles: Creativity, Community, and Change, which are the bedrock of all its endeavours.

CAC strives to instigate societal change by dismantling stereotypes and elevating creative individuals within the disability community. Its focus extends beyond mere representation to actively challenge prevailing misconceptions. CAC takes pride in showcasing the extraordinary talents of disabled artists, providing them with the necessary support to develop their practice and achieve professional recognition.

The Connecting Artists Collective, an extension of the Connecting Artists Programme, represents CAC’s commitment to continuous engagement and support for visual artists with intellectual disabilities. This Collective offers an inclusive, nurturing environment where artists and mentors collaborate, share skills, and forge connections. It’s a hub of personal and creative development, mentorship, and commercial opportunities for unique, original artwork. Emphasising equality with a flat hierarchy, the Collective includes 22 artists—16 with disabilities and 6 mentors from the wider community, fostering a collaborative and dynamic environment.

With an ambitious goal to include up to 40 artists and mentors by the end of 2024, the CA Collective is poised to expand its reach and impact. This expansion will be complemented by a dedicated space on the CAC website, providing accessible resources for artists and art enthusiasts alike. #CACatRHA

Image: Niamh Eldridge-Barry
Friday 16 February – Sunday 28 April 2024
Royal Hibernian Academy
15 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 661 2558
Opening hours / start times:
Monday 11:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 11:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 19:00
Thursday 11:00 - 19:00
Friday 11:00 - 19:00
Saturday 11:00 - 19:00
Sunday 14:00 - 17:00
Admission / price: Free

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