Art brings positivity to the lives of Limerick children living with illness

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INSPIRING artwork created by children living with medical conditions will go on display in Limerick City Gallery this summer.

Details of the exhibition have been announced by Helium Arts, a charity that works to transform the healthcare experience of young people through art and creative interventions.

The exhibition, with the theme of ‘Objects of Wonder’, will run from June 9 to 25 and is being facilitated by artist Chelsea Canavan, who is from Castleconnell.

It will feature artwork by Helium workshop participants, aged nine to 12, to showcase collaborations between professional artists and young participants in the programmes run by Helium in hospital and community healthcare settings.

“In Ireland, 11 per cent of children live with a long-term health condition or disability and approximately one per cent of all children – about 13,000 children – are seriously inhibited in their day-to-day lives. This can lead to significant social and emotional challenges for them,” said Helium Arts chief executive Heléne Hugel.

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“At Helium, we work with young people in healthcare and community settings to offer them art and other creative experiences with a view to improving their wellbeing and mental health. We are delighted to be launching a series of summer exhibitions today, which will celebrate the creative work of the children and artists involved while also highlighting the value of creativity for wellbeing.”

In addition to the exhibition, a “family sharing day” will take place on Saturday June 18, with family friendly activities including creative clay work, stencil making, exploring cabinets of curiosity, animations and more.

At the launch of the exhibition series this week, the impact of the work done by Helium Arts was highlighted by Regina Sheehan from Limerick city, parent of Tiernan, 12, who has phenylketonuria, hypothyroidism, hypermobility and deuteranopia.

“The impact Helium Arts has had on my child’s life has been immeasurable,” she said.

“Art and creativity have brought positivity into Tiernan’s life during times when he was really struggling with his healthcare issues. Tiernan is now so excited to know that some of his artworks will be exhibited by Helium this summer. It is providing him with a real boost during what has been a particularly challenging period.”

Since its establishment in 2010, Helium Arts has worked with over 5,000 young people across Ireland. For more visit www.helium.ie.