The artwork, which carries the inspirational words ‘Life is tough, but so are you’ was created by the young people as part of a community art project led by the school’s Expressive Arts department – Miss Fletcher, Miss Black and Miss Donnelly. They wanted to create an outdoor mural that had a mental health theme and provide a positive statement for the local community. It was also the perfect opportunity for their young people to learn from a practicing artist while producing something inspiring that everyone could be proud of.
The young people engaged with teachers, peers, parents and guardians and the local community on the wording for their artwork. Once this important decision was made, the school worked alongside Helen Duncan from East Ayrshire Creative Minds, she organised for Frank Carty from Artisan Artworks to work with the young people for a week, back in 2019. Frank worked with two groups of pupils from S1 and S3, teaching sign writing tools, techniques and materials. The sketches the young people created of the lettering were used on the sign with support from Frank.
During the week the sign was created, the school hosted a community event and were supported by community worker Danielle Winters, who organised for the local community and elected members to attend. This community event provided the opportunity for invited guests and parents to hear about the project directly from the young people and some people even contributed to the project by painting part of the sign. Frank Carty installed the sign, which was completed early in 2020, on Wednesday 27 January this year following planning permission being granted.
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning said: “This community art project is wonderful. Doon Academy’s Expressive Arts department, Miss Fletcher, Miss Black and Miss Donnelly, are to be commended for creating a project for their young people that connects back directly to the local community. They couldn’t have imagined when the project started the huge changes and difficulties that all our communities were set to experience. The sign is for our times, I haven’t been able to visit in person to see the sign in situ but the photographs are wonderful and the art is inspiring. Well done to everyone involved.”
Miss Fletcher, Principal Teacher said: “We are overjoyed at the response to the project so far and are extremely proud of all of the Doon Academy pupils who helped create this piece of community art. We would like to thank the Masonic Social Club for allowing the sign to be installed on their building. The sign is a great example of community partnership with Expressive Arts Staff, Doon Academy Pupils, the Creative Minds Team, Artisan Artworks and the Masonic Club, all coming together to create a piece of art with a message that is more relevant now than ever.”