Galway-based artist Dee Deegan has launched a community-focused art project to promote creativity and positivity during lockdown.
The project, entitled ‘Messages of Hope’, is aimed at children aged 7yrs+ but adults are also encouraged to take part.
Participants can choose between three postcard templates – HOPE, LOVE or HUGS – to design using the Zentangle method.
A Zentangle design is a miniature abstract work of art created by a collection of patterns, according to Kinder Art.
Each participant’s design will then be printed onto 10 postcards by Jaycee Printers of Abbeygate Street, who have partnered with Dee on this project.
One postcard will be kept as a record of the project with an aim to exhibit them all once restrictions are lifted.
The remaining nine postcards will be sent onto the person who designed them, four of which will be prefilled with the addresses of nursing homes across Galway and its surrounding counties.
These can be sent free of charge using the Freepost service currently provided by An Post to all nursing homes across the country.
Due to the cost implications involved with printing and distributing the postcards, Dee had established a GoFundMe page for the project which has already surpassed its target of
All surplus funding is being donated to the non-profit counselling organisation Let’s Get Talking.
“I chose to give the unused funds to Let’s Get Talking because, with Covid, mental health issues have come to the forefront,” Dee explained.
“They’ve come to the forefront for people who’ve never had these issues before and it has put a lot of pressure on mental health services.
“I’ve had mental health issues myself. I know what it’s like to be there and I know what it’s like to feel that there isn’t any hope, which is where the project is coming from.”
As owner of Galway Art Academy, Dee has taught art to children for many years; and the students that she currently teaches via Zoom are equally invested in the project.
“They’ve been really involved in it, and I’ve gotten messages from parents saying that they’re bursting with excitement,” said Dee.
“It opens up the children’s eyes to it [mental health] and I’m opening up conversation and encouraging people to talk about their mental health.”
More information about the Messages of Hope project can be found on www.galwayartacademy.com.