Norwood artists dazzle Patrons at prestigious Halcyon Gallery

23 March 2012

I am happy that you have all come to see our art work; this has made me feel very proud. I really enjoy learning new skills and having new opportunities.

A group of talented artists with learning disabilities were given the chance to exhibit alongside world-famous glass sculptor Dale Chihuly at a top Mayfair art gallery last night, during Norwood’s annual Patrons Cocktail Party. More than 40 pieces including canvasses and glass objets d’art created by people who use Norwood’s services in London and Berkshire, were given pride of place at the event, held at the new Halcyon Gallery in New Bond Street. Many of these will be sold online as part of the Norwood Gifts initiative, a project based on social enterprise principles that teaches participants important work skills.

Exhibitor Peter Girvan, who lives at Ravenswood, Norwood’s residential community in Crowthorne, has attended art classes for six years and enjoys landscape painting. He told guests: “I am happy that you have all come to see our art work; this has made me feel very proud. I really enjoy learning new skills and having new opportunities.”

Fellow exhibitor Rachelle Adler, who lives in a Norwood residential home in Hendon, north-west London, added: "What I like most is painting but I also like trying different things. I am proud that my work is being shown here tonight and want to thank you for coming to see it. I really like selling my art and jewellery and love learning new skills."

The 28-strong group and more than 150 patrons enjoyed a drinks and canapés reception and a private viewing of impressive glass sculptures by US artist Chihuly on display at the gallery. Guests were welcomed by Richard Desmond, President of Norwood, who thanked them for their support. Elaine Kerr, Norwood’s Chief Executive, then spoke about recent and upcoming initiatives, including the launch of a car wash training project last August and the imminent opening of new supported living accommodation in Edgware.

She also referred to on-going impact of last year’s government funding cuts and the rising demand for Norwood’s services for children and families in need. "We know that our safety net is absolutely vital, and we’ve raised our game so that we can respond to the additional demands on us," she said. "However, it is only through your unfailing and impressive commitment that Norwood can continue to respond to the needs of the Community."

A further exhibition and sale of artwork created by people who use Norwood’s services is due to take place at the Halcyon Gallery’s Bruton Street premises on 13 September.

Russell Green, Managing Director of the Halcyon Gallery, welcomed guests including renowned sculptor Lorenzo Quinn and said: "This evening is awe inspiring for many reasons and we are so proud not only to be involved with such an inspirational and professional charity but proud to have so many artists in this gallery. We hope very much you will continue your support for Norwood."