This spring Scottish homelessness charity Bethany Christian Trust is running a large scale community arts project with the residents of Menzieshill, Dundee.

Developed by the charity’s Creative Expressions service through consultation with members of the community, the project consists of a series of artist led workshops in April followed by an open air art exhibition in May. Creative Expressions is part of Bethany Christian Trust’s homelessness prevention initiative, and aims to empower and support communities and individuals through the creative arts.

Sam Rowe, Creative Expressions Coordinator, said,

“Bethany know the huge importance of the creative arts and how powerful they are for sharing experiences, providing meaningful activity and increasing self-esteem, all of which can divert people from future risk of homelessness and its causes.”     

For the Menzieshill Outdoor Art Project, three artists have been commissioned to run workshops for residents of all ages to come together and create art that celebrates their community. The artists themselves will be mentored during the project by Heidi and Peter Gardner of Gardner and Gardner.

Textile artist Rhona Jack will be working with participants to make textile pieces using recycled fabrics. She says: “I reinvent reclaimed & recycled items through crafting. I’ll work collaboratively with the community to create something magical in a green space of Menzieshill.”

Photographer Ciara Menzies will run an Easter holiday photography school for young people, with a focus on accessible camera phone photography or equipment available on loan. She explains; “we’ll find out what really excites us about Menzieshill and make a place to spotlight them.”

Craig Crawford, also known as street artist ‘C. Gul’, will run drop in sessions for households to create graffiti art as well as developing a mural for the area. He says; “This is an opportunity to bring art to the streets of Menzieshill. I’m excited to work with residents on a mural that represents them and brightens the community.”

All workshops will be conducted within current coronavirus restrictions and will be a blend of digital and in-person activities.

On the 15th and 16th of May the workshops will culminate in an open air exhibition that will transform the greenspaces of Menzieshill into an interactive art event for the whole community.

Bob Mallinson, chair of Building a Stronger Menzieshill says;

“This project will be of great benefit to the community. It’s been a very difficult year and to have something where people can express themselves creatively, in which the whole community can engage with and see, will raise the morale of the community as a whole.”

The Menzieshill Outdoor Art Project aims to strengthen ties within Menzieshill, breaking down barriers as well as providing an enriching creative experience for adults and young people in an area that has few such opportunities, particularly during the Covid 19 crisis. It has been supported by Inspiring Scotland’s Creative Communities fund, which is working to empower local communities to develop new arts initiatives.