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PICTURES: ‘We can all be creative’ at Inverness Openarts sessions

By Ian Duncan

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Creativity has been on show at a series of free drop-in community art workshops.

The Inverness Openarts sessions have been organised by Wasps at a number of locations in the city including the Inverness Creative Academy.

Project co-ordinator Bonnie Forrest said there had been a good uptake for the first few sessions with an average of between 10 and 17 participants depending on the size of the venue.

“It is an opportunity to create art without any pressure in an environment that is not judgemental – we encourage each other to explore the art materials,” she added.

“Setting Openarts apart from traditional art classes, there is no curriculum or list of expectations about what participants should or shouldn’t create.

“Removing the pressure to be ‘good’ at art frees people to discover art-making as a tool for supporting and enhancing wellbeing.”

Ali Mackay, from Inverness, got interested in art when she enrolled on a short course at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and heard about the workshops by word of mouth.

She said: “Everybody has a creative side and it is OK to be different.

“It has made me realise that it doesn’t matter what other people think and it’s made me not care and be a little bit more adventurous.”

Karen Felix, from Inverness, was there for her first session and said she thought it was good. She added: “I just like to do painting and it gets me out of the house as well.”

Emma-Fleur Grof had travelled from Dingwall to take part in her first session at the creative academy and saw it advertised on Facebook. She said: “I thought ‘I want more creativity in my life’ and more time to stop, slow down and focus.”

She described the workshop as “lovely” and added: “Everyone is really friendly and I have only been here 20 minutes. It’s not just about the art, it’s about meeting other folk.”

Gemma Hillan, from Inverness, was also at her first session and said: “It’s a lovely stress relief and it is a break in the week.

“It’s nice to have the facility open.”

She said that art was something she enjoyed and it was nice to have a chance to try something new.

Forming a programme that follows school term times, sessions rotate between four community venues: The Bike Shed in Merkinch, Hilton Community Centre; The Bught Stop and Inverness Creative Academy’s workshop space.

For more, email invernessopenarts@wasps studios.org.uk

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