Location: Sandyford & Ballyogan, Co. Dublin

Key Message: Don't worry, be happy! Just keep swimming - stay positive during difficult times.

A collaboration between Bloom | The Art Project and Crosscare Youth Services in Sandyford & Ballyogan for youth led projects, using their ideas and art to create murals that mean something special to them.

Our first project with a Crosscare service was way back in June, one of our first big projects and one that will always have a special place in our hearts. (Read about it here).

We were invited back to their services at the tail end of 2021. Our first venture was out to Ballyogan Youth Service, where we ran two idea generation workshops for a mural that would coat the back of the youth centre. We got to work with the same lively and enthusiastic group for both workshops and the mural, which we always love. Having time to develop out ideas, change your mind and play around with different aspects gives you a real sense of ownership and pride when the final piece is created. We wanted this group to have that feeling when they walked past their wall, that it was theirs entirely.

Following on from the workshops, we gathered their ideas, put them together and created a scene that encapsulated all the elements they had discussed and created. Nature, animals, wolves, butterflies, flowers – all images that they said spark positivity and optimism within them, that made them feel good and alive.

The mural painting was completed in record time, if memory serves correctly it was finished in about 3 hours, pretty impressive. The group didn’t need much encouragement, once they seen the spray paints they knew what they had to do.

The feedback we received from the group once the project was complete made us very happy. The kids reported that they felt truly listened to and that they could clearly see their ideas on the completed piece. That is all we can hope to achieve through our work!

We were then invited to Sandyford Youth Service to transform their lounge room in their beautiful centre. We had an evening to spend with two different groups. A short time to generate ideas and concepts for the wall but with another very enthusiastic group, it didn’t prove to be a problem. “Just keep swimming” was something that struck with the group, that they wanted to include on the walls. From this, every member was able to develop their own element and spend some time mindfully bringing it to life in the calm company of their friends.

It was a really relaxing evening, music filled the space and aided in the creation of an atmosphere that we truly relish – quiet contented concentration. There’s nothing we love more to see than when people drift in and out of their own worlds, immersing themselves in the colours and shapes, forgetting about life for a little while.

We hope to continue our work with Crosscare youth service into 2022.