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Teenagers with lifelong health conditions taking part in Helium Arts Limerick exhibition

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Helium Arts artisit Chelsea Canavan with Participant Tilly Knox, Limerick working on her exhibition piece for the ‘Helium Arts Youth Showcase’ 2023, which is a multi-location exhibition series showcasing artworks created by young people living with lifelong physical conditions, with events taking place in Cork, Limerick, Galway and online this November and December. Photograph by Eamon Ward

An exhibition of artworks by teenagers participating in Helium Arts’ creative hub in Limerick will open on November 18 at Limerick City Gallery of Art

An exhibition of artworks by teenagers participating in Helium Arts’ creative hub in Limerick will open on November 18 at Limerick City Gallery of Art
Helium Arts artisit Chelsea Canavan (centre) with Participants Henrietta Longstaff, Galway, Tiernan Sheehan, Limerick, Ruth Cotter, Cork and Sophie Neville, Cork with their exhibition pieces for the ‘Helium Arts Youth Showcase’ 2023. Photograph by Eamon Ward

An art exhibition by the national arts and health charity Helium Arts is opening on Saturday, November 18 at Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA) that will showcase works created by young people living with lifelong physical health conditions.

The ‘Helium Arts Youth Showcase’ will display artworks by teenagers with lifelong physical health conditions from Limerick and across the region, who have been participating in a programme of Saturday meetups and art camps throughout 2023, organised by Helium Arts, including at its Limerick creative hub.

During their meet-ups, the young people have visited the Hunt Museum and Limerick City Gallery of Art to see exhibitions. They have also participated in creative workshops in Watch House Cross Library.


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The Helium Arts exhibition will explore themes of youth interest, including deadly plants, masks and alter egos, and it will run until 3rd December.

An accompanying ‘Sharing Day’ for family and friends is taking place on Saturday, 25th November, 2.30-4.30pm.

Helium Arts works to improve the wellbeing of children and teenagers living with lifelong physical health conditions. It achieves this by facilitating specially designed artist- and youth-led art workshops, including those held at its Limerick creative hub.

Families, young people and children travel to Limerick from other counties and from across the region to take part in the Helium Arts creative programme, which aims to inspire creativity, provide social opportunities, offer new experiences, foster friendships, and improve mental health and wellbeing.

All of Helium Arts’ workshops are supported by professional artists, volunteers and on-site medical care.

The young people at its Limerick hub have been working collaboratively with professional artist Chelsea Canavan, also based in Limerick, who facilitates the programme, to curate the presentation of their work, playing with themes and titles for their exhibition, and ways to present their work.

A survey conducted by Helium Arts in October 2023 highlighted how its national Creative Health Hub Programme helps young participants with lifelong physical health conditions to feel seen and heard.

One participant who took part in the anonymous survey said they feel seen and heard when they are being creative with people similar to them, while another said they feel seen and heard when their work is shown in public.

Announcing the ‘Helium Arts Youth Showcase’, CEO and Artistic Director of Helium Arts, Helene Hugel, said, “In Ireland, 13 per cent of children live with the challenges of a lifelong health condition. 18,000 of these children are considered as severely hampered in their everyday lives.

“Research shows that young people living with health conditions face loneliness, stress, anxiety, and can feel defined by their condition. They experience stigma associated with their condition, social isolation and loneliness and fewer quality friendships.

“Our year-round work aims to address these challenges. November and December’s ‘Youth Showcase’ marks a lovely occasion to applaud the accomplishments, creativity and brilliant ideas of the teenagers who actively participate in our art workshops and camps throughout the year, in collaboration with our team of professional artists, including at our Limerick hub.

“We are thrilled to witness the innovative creations they will unveil, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the in-person events and to view the online exhibition element of the series on our website.”

All ‘Helium Arts Youth Showcase’ exhibitions and associated events are open to the public and are free of charge.

The Mid West Hub is taking place in partnership with University Hospital Limerick, HSE Mid West Community Healthcare, Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Culture and Arts Department.

More information here
Read more Helium Arts stories here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.