Nicky Dowd

Artist in Residence

Community Art Projects

I specialise in co-creating to produce  interior and exterior graphic Murals using a carefully chosen colour palette of  high quality , child friendly paints and materials. 


Over the last 30 years I have experienced and delivered a large variety of projects that demand an understanding of all materials and art disciplines. Celebrating local and global heritage,environment,culture and art.

Working experiencially with children and adults of all ages and capabilities.


Most Recent completed Projects :

  • Killeen N.S 2018
  • Lankill N.S 2017
  • Cuilmore N.S Newport  2017
  • Westport 250 Parade 2017
  • Murrisk National School Mural at the foot         of Croagh Patrick November 2016 
  • Westport Arts Festival Parade Sept 2016.


Finding artistic solutions through collaboration  and exploration  is a really rewarding and educational  process. Developing self esteem, learning new skills and enlightening our senses. 

Whether it is a public or commercial space, school or private house the sense of achievement and ownership is  immeasurable


Birmingham Children's Hospital Project

A Commercial Commission for Birmingham Children’s Hospital to reflect the protected areas of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Murrisk Mural

Murrisk National School wanted to paint something on the outside of their school which would reflect the vibrance of the School on the inside and its exceptionally beautiful suroundings.

So one sunny Monday morning we took our sketch books and the whole school went for a long walk down to the beach to REALLY look at their environment and talk about what it meant to them. In the following 4 days I spent time with each child developing their interpretation of the particular subject they had chosen to explore and  by Thursday we were ready to build the composition. We looked at Paul Henrys work and talked about Hockneys colours and graphics .The individual drawings were projected  onto Marine ply prepped boards and they all came back to paint their part.

The result is the most wonderful expresssion of the children's  appreciation of where they live. The Mural is bursting with colour and content and illustrates the huge variety of History, nature, leisure persuits and heritage in such a small area.

It is a very rewarding experience to guide a child to create something they didn't know they were capable of, not just individually but as a team and the finished design is now available as a printed card to raise funds for the school .Contact [email protected]  for details .

 
 
 

Warren Farm Nursery Exterior Mural

Warren Farm Nursery Exterior Mural
Area to be transformed was a tired peeling wall of the Nursery Portacabin and ugly metal container in the playground area. The initial discussions with staff confirmed the exploration of subjects for me to present a series of designs which were proposed to the school and a budget agreed.

St Joseph's After School Club


 This workshop was funded by Irish in Birmingham by the inspirational Pat Wright.

 We talked about anything and everything that they associated with Ireland  – Family,sport, music, Legends, holidays,rainbows.  We looked at the social history contained in old letters letters and stamps from 1870 to present day, identified them in the stamp catalogues and selected their own collection to stick on a small vase ready for a flower or a tea light.   All washed down with pink lemonade and Tatoes with some traditional irish music just to keep us focussed.

Shustoke School Jubilee Projects

My 2012 project was with Shustoke C of E Primary School in North Warwickshire where I received a friendly welcome and enjoyed a week working with children, staff and parents to produce the two murals below for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, June 2012.  Each class celebrated a different decade and all the images were brought together on the large mural of a crown. 

 Thank you Shustoke School!

Here is What the Head Teacher Ms Wall says:

'We commissioned Nicky Dowd to work with us for four days on a large scale art project to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The work included many of the children and also provided an opportunity to involve members of the community – parents were welcomed into school to work with their children.
We were extremely impressed by the professional approach of Mrs. Dowd who came into school to plan the project with staff and prepare the resources prior to the workshops. Every effort was made to plan the project thoroughly and discuss creative ideas with school. Once the project commenced, the time taken to plan the project, certainly paid dividends as the results were wonderful and exceeded our expectations.
Nicky Dowd had a most pleasant and professional manner she was encouraging of children of all ages.
My staff and I would be delighted to work with Nicky Dowd again in the future and would happily recommend her to other schools.'

Warren Farm Projects

Warren Farm Primary School: Here is a testimonial from Gill Barr of Warren Farm Primary School:
 'Nicky has worked at our school on two fantastic community arts projects during the last two school years.  The first project involved parents and children from across the whole school designing and painting seven 8ft by 4 ft boards themed around different countries. 
This project was a wonderful opportunity for our parents and children to showcase their artistic talents under the expert guidance of Nicky.  This work is displayed in our junior playground and is a vibrant improvement to a previously drab area. 
The second project was inspired by Andy Warhol based around British Olympic heroes. 
A design competition was run in school and the winners worked with Nicky to produce an Olympic display which adorns our front playground area.

Jigsaw Art Project

Jigsaw Mural Project for St Vincent's Catholic Primary School
I was invited by Patricia Wright to meet the Head and Deputy of St Vincents School Nechells to ask what they would like to do in the school if they were given my time and expertise to produce a project.  They both agreed that the schools 8 Values needed to be presented in some way and it would be more powerful if a decorative mural incorporated each one, possibly utilising a very large blank wall outside.
I then suggested each class discussed and explored their own interpretations of a given value, producing paintings and drawings.
Between 6 and 8 drawings from each class were selected to be painted by the children with my guidance onto an individual jigsaw piece which I had cut out of marine plywood, treated and undercoated.
Each individual piece was approximately 1 metre square mounted slightly off the wall so rain could run down the back.  The overall effect was clean and graphic evoking much excitement and interest from the community.  The whole school was involved including Nursery and Reception.
The Jigsaw reminds us we are all important as individuals but are part of a bigger picture and sometimes together we are stronger.  I would like one to be separated from the 6 fitting together and one to be poised ready to interlock with the others.  This could be symbolic of all sorts of emotions and experiences we all have in life which can be discussed and explored.
 
The Jigsaw Art Project was organised by Patricia Wright, Cultural Development Officer for the Birmingham Irish Community Forum whose posts and projects are funded by the Emigrant Support Programme from the Embassy of Ireland. This took 6 days to prepare complete & install.

National Trust

Testimonial for Nicky Dowd by Joyce from the National Trust
It is some what enlightening and rare to find artists and creative facilitators that can build on the bones of your initial concepts and use them to create resources and inclusive opportunities for audiences, participants and community.
I’ve worked with Nicky on several occasions with Birmingham Irish Community Forum and the National Trust Whose Story? Project.
With the Irish Forum she worked as a scriptwriter on an animation project called “Why The Irish?” Paddy Idol with, Bishop Challenor School and CAN Arts in 2005; funded by Irish Youth Foundation and supported by Birmingham City Council Youth Service.  Nicky encouraged the young people to be as expressive and open in an informal educational setting. This was visualised in their final piece which they were proud of, having enjoyed a new creative experience celebrating  their cultural background. 

With the National Trust Whose Story? Project which was an exciting initiative which aimed to engage and attract audiences from Black and Minority backgrounds to the National Trust who wouldn’t normally visit. Nicky worked on the ‘Access All Areas’ project at Croome Park in Worcester 2008/2009; again as a scriptwriter/facilitator creating an audio tour for the parkland. Exploring how cultures from all over the world were reflected at Croome, from the trees to the people who lived there. Along with audio artist Sarah Wilson and Redditch based youth group Caribbean Roots Connection produced an audio tour narrated by William Dean, who was  Head Gardener at Croome  in 1824 plus  the young people acting the parts of 18 century characters who may have worked or lived at Croome.  

Corporate

Companies
I can help you to stage a special event such as the one in the photograph:

This team building excersise for BCA engaged all the staff who were dressed as candles to celebrate the companies  50th Birthday.  I painted the Auction platform that they stood on as a giant cake which looked good enough to eat but we distributed slices of a replica cake to customers for fun.