Liverpool’s Bluecoat gallery launched their ‘Out of the Blue‘ exhibition on Saturday 22nd October; the showcasing of a project which brings together adults with learning difficulties and local children, who work with one another to create art on a weekly basis.
Walking into the exhibition space, at first glance the work on display appeared overly simplistic, a collection of life size portraits and an interactive game set in one room, which left us asking “is this it?.” However, once you begin to engage in the art you start to realise the creativity that has gone in to the pieces and how it would seem almost impossible for an adult to ever produce something so fun and innocent. The art became enjoyable to engage in and for a minute it felt like you had regained the childhood innocence that is often lost. The style of art is not what would traditionally be described as sophisticated or intentionally political, however it instead offers an intense sense of joy, innocence and fun that other, more structured and typical art can often lack.
The ‘Out of the Blue’ exhibition is a visibly collaborative effort, between both the outreach programme and the Bluecoat gallery, alongside the adults and children involved in creating the work. The accompanying film to the display includes interviews with members of the Out of the Blue programme: artists, children, parents and session leaders, with the overwhelming feeling being that art aside, the weekly session allows both adult and child an unrestricted freedom of expression. It is clear that the bond between both the adults and children was the key part of its success. Collaboration within art does not always come easy, requiring patience and team work, so it is inspiring to see how successfully they have all worked together given the range of age and ability.
Alongside simply working together in art, the project also aims to improve acceptance of people with disabilities and to improve their visibility in society. Out of the Blue helps to improve children’s acceptance of people with disabilities alongside providing the adults with a safe space to socialise and create without judgement. The Bluecoat is known for its entirely inclusive approach to art and it is in this way the exhibition succeeds, providing an artistic platform for those who otherwise may not have the opportunity to showcase work in a gallery. It is safe to say that despite the ‘Out of the Blue’ exhibition being only small, it is important, entertaining and definitely something to stop by as you’re wandering through town.
‘Out of the Blue’ runs at The Bluecoat Gallery until Saturday November 19th. Entry is free and the exhibition is open daily from 10am-6pm.
Words by Jonathan Dawson and Erika Janus.