19 May 2022

'World in a Window' national exhibition set for Kilkenny showing

Exhibition expresses experiences of children living with long-term health conditions during lockdown


A new ‘Our World in a Window’ arts exhibition in Kilkenny later this month

Helium Arts, the charity that provides arts programmes for children living with long-term health conditions, will launch a new ‘Our World in a Window’ arts exhibition at Kilkenny's MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre from July 24 –  August 3.

The window exhibition features the animations and mechanised artwork produced by 49 children living with long-term health conditions in Ireland who took part in Helium Arts Remote Programme ‘Distance Creates’ over the past year. The exhibition is touring to Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Longford.

Since February 2021, children aged 9-12 living with long-term health conditions have been exploring the world of animation guided by Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan. From tinfoil and claymation characters to foam sculptures and hand-drawn illustrations, the children’s stories have come to life in unique and imaginative ways, showing
persistence and creativity in the face of adversity.

The project origins date back to the onset of the pandemic, when Helium Arts began adapting its programmes to digital and postal formats to allow many vulnerable young people to practice their creativity from the safety of their homes. The goal was to offer respite during these difficult times of social distancing, and support their mental health.

Between 2020 and 2021, Helium Arts’ remote programme increased access to creative psycho-social supports for over 250 children living with long-term health conditions across Ireland, increasing their wellbeing by 44% and in particular doubled
participation by families living in rural and regional areas. The programme reducesaccess barriers, removing the need and additional costs of traveling and enables parents and children to fit art activities in with existing schedules, all from the comfort of their home.

It also offered a suitable method of engagement for children and young people who found social situations challenging.

”It was brilliant way to stay connected. Penpals and Zoom made it all so real," said one parent.

"Seeing other children and being part of a group, it gave my son something totally different. It took him away from it all.”

Designed by Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan and creative engineer Gerry Byrnes, the exhibition is touring to six locations throughout the country this summer

"This exhibition gives a voice to the many children living with health conditions during lock-down," says Helium Arts founder and CEO Helene Hugel.

"It symbolically brings their experiences and stories to life in unique and imaginative ways. Many of these children have faced multiple challenges during the pandemic, including reduced services and cocooning. This exhibition celebrates their talent, persistence and creativity in the face of adversity."

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