Groovin in the Community

The HUB Creative Space Art Circle participant Tony Bancroft with facilitator Ann Burke. Find the Art Circle's Angel Wings on display at Townsville's Groovin the Moo this year. IMAGE: Nathan Toll

“Art is a great way for people to express themselves; it gives them a sense of purpose, inclusion, and gives them freedom. Everyone should have the chance to feel that.”

Groovin the Moo will be brighter than ever this year, thanks to a collaboration with local creatives.

The HUB Creative Space’s Art Circle group, open to everyone but comprised mainly of special needs students and their carers, is in the process of creating a majestic pair of angel wings that will span a fenceline at Groovin the Moo’s Townsville event this May.

The wings, measuring 5.5 metres, will be constructed from large paper feathers that are being individually painted by the Art Circle.

Art Circle Facilitator Ann Burke said the project really meant something to the students.

“All of the students here are so proud of their work, no matter what they create, and love the chance to have it on display – they’re already asking if they can go to the festival to see the finished wings, and I just think it’s great to have them included and contribute to an event as big as this,” Ann said.

“I’ve been working alongside people with disabilities for 14-15 years, and have been doing art groups like this for a long time too – a lot of people with disabilities and mental illnesses don’t really have many places to go to socialise or have outlets to express themselves.”

Participants in the HUB Creative Space’s Art Circle with some of the feathers they have made for the Angel Wings. IMAGE: Nathan Toll

“You see some of them change so much from their first visit: when one of the students started with us, all he drew were squares. As little a change as it may seem, he’s now doing curving lines and his mother’s said she’s never seen him do anything like that before and the happiness it brings them is brilliant.

“Some of the people in these classes now were ones that I taught with my previous organisation over 14 years ago – when I started here, they followed because they do become attached and miss it. Art is a really powerful thing, and makes so many people happy.”

Owner of the HUB Creative Space, Sue Bright, said the angel wings project was a great opportunity for those who may not be able to attend the festival to still be involved.

“We were approached by Groovin the Moo to collaborate with the people who use our space and create some sort of decoration for this year’s Festival, and when I mentioned we had special needs groups attending our classes, they were really excited to have those groups included in the making process. It’s no longer just about being involved in the actual day, but finding other ways to contribute and giving these amazing people a feeling that they were a part of something really fantastic,” Sue said.

“Art gets the students out of the house and generates creative connections. They’re being social, there’s no pressure, and they’re having fun. It’s great.

“The Art Circle Class is really open – I don’t know which disability support or carer groups everyone is with, because it’s just been a broad invitation to everyone from day one. It’s wonderful to see that they’re all looking for more to be involved in too and cross-pollenating with other classes, so are obviously enjoying their time here.”

Find the Art Circle angel wings on display at Groovin the Moo Townsville on 6 May, with artist announcements and tickets available here. For information on future art classes, visit The HUB Creative Space on Facebook.

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