Up coming exhibition ‘A Sense of Self’ at Letchworth Arts Centre

Written by Jo Howe

On April 5, 2012

A Sense of SelfExhibition Tuesday 22nd May – Thu 31st May at Letchworth Arts Centre

A Sense of Self uses visual arts practice to celebrate the ways in which we understand ourselves through metaphor, mark making, colour and form. It is a conversation on creativity, individuality and our experience of living. It presents the idea that every human being can access and express profound, beautiful and humbling works that reveal a commonality of human experience, desire and emotion.

Digswell Arts Trust artists Jo Howe (lead artist) and Alex Mclntyre (agent and artist) have joined forces in this exciting project with the Hertfordshire Creative Learning Programme and Lonsdale School, Stevenage. They seek to democratise the creative process by exhibiting work from pupils and staff at the school alongside work by Artist Fellows at Digswell Arts Trust.

The exhibition evolved as Jo Howe worked with pupils and staff at the school on a Hertfordshire Creative Learning project. She has inspired participants to develop personal works encouraging reflection and experimentation with a broad range of media. Participants engaged in professional arts practice through making and refinement of art works and group discussion, including visiting and talking to Artist Fellows at Digswell Arts Trust. The pupils subsequently invited fellows to exhibit with them in a mutual celebration of the diversity of creative practice.

We invite visitors to reflect on their own sense of self and access their individual creativity. Visitors are encouraged to share their experience with us by connecting with our exhibition during viewing and scheduled workshops, and by leaving drawings and comments in our interactive space.

Lonsdale School is a special educational needs school for young people with severe physical and neurological impairment.

The Hertfordshire Creative Learning Programme works with professional artists on creative projects using creativity to engage children and young people in learning.

Digswell Arts Trust is an innovative charity that for over 50 years has focused on artists in the early phases of their careers. Through its studios in Letchworth, Stevenage and Welwyn it provides studios for approximately 40 emerging artists or fellows.

Jo Howe works independently and within education. She specialises in working with children and young people with special educational needs. Her priority is to enable the personal voice and as much independent choice and action as possible. Mark making, personal expression, the finding of a voice and sharing of voices within a group context are seen as immensely powerful and valuable. Jo is keen that the curatorial style reflects accessibility of viewing for wheelchair users.

Jo’s personal art practice explores a frustration in communication. Her book works seek to express the difficulty of speaking without being heard, to listen either actively or ineffectively. This project and exhibition can be seen as an extension of key concerns: how do we explore and express notions of self through visual arts practice as an act of conversation?

Alex McIntyre works as an artist, creative facilitator, and project coordinator both independently and within arts organizations, the community and in education. She is passionate about demystifying the creative process, making it visible and therefore accessible to new and diverse audiences. Her personal practice is concerned with communication, exploring intuitive moments of interaction between individuals through gesture and movement in drawing, painting and sculpture. More recently, she has begun to use her own work as a stimulus for audience engagement within exhibitions. She is working with an evolving exhibition model so that the space lives and changes through audience interaction.

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