Helen McLean – Artist ‘Art With A Heart’ project – Creativity and Community in Covid Times

Helen McLean – Artist
‘Art With A Heart’ project
Creativity and Community in Covid Times

Visual Artist Helen McLean’s studio is located in Wexford Enterprise Centre. Though much of her business is dependent on public access to the Centre, when the Covid-19 restrictions took hold, the ever-creative Helen reached outside the confines of her physical studio to unite the Wexford community through her ‘Art With A Heart’ project. Here is her story.

When Covid-19 descended all my art sessions came to a halt. Until then, each week I would have engaged with over 13 adult classes in my studio in Wexford Enterprise Centre as well as other adult education groups throughout the county. All age groups and types of people attend my art classes and for many, it is not only about being creative, but about connecting with others and making new friendships. Many people have been in my groups for years and their art session is an important part of their week, so when all halted it was difficult for many.

To keep everyone’s moral up and keep all connected throughout the lockdown I decided to start the “Art With A Heart” project. It started as a small idea and a method to kick start our fundraising for the class charity of 2020, Relay for Life, Wexford.

I asked my adults students to paint, mosaic or collage small paintings within a heart theme on an easily accessible square, the size of a coaster. I put a box with squares outside my home for all to safely access. The painted hearts were then photographed and I put them up on Facebook for a donation fee of €20 in memory of a loved one who had passed. The idea was to mount all the hearts like a painted quilt on boards with the dedication below each heart. The hearts would form one huge artwork and in some ways be a symbol of lockdown 2020, as well as a memorial to loved ones passed.

Over the coming weeks over 500 hearts were donated. The hearts came to symbolise the emotion and memories of loved ones from the larger community. Each little heart was a mini-memorial to a loved one who had died. We had donations of over €9,300 in nine weeks.

It was amazing to see how the project caught the imagination of my students and the wider community. It connected people from Gorey to Ferns to Enniscorthy to Kilmore Quay to Wexford. I set up art groups from all regions and we had daily chats on Whatsapp. All the creators of the little paintings got an adrenalin rush when their heart sold. For those cocooning painting, was a way to pass the hours isolated from family. This whole project happened virtually with true community spirit.

My ultimate dream is to hang all 8 panels together in one location for all to see. My second dream is to create a book that tells the story of the project as I think it was a unique event and with each heart photographed it means people who purchased the hearts for loved ones have an immediate reference to their piece.”

See more of her work on https://www.helenmcleanart.com/ or visit her Facebook page.

Wexford Enterprise Centre responds to the new Level 5 regulations of the Government’s ‘Living with Covid-19’ Plan

Following the recent announcement by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin to increase the “Government Plan for living with Covid-19” to Level 5 from midnight Wednesday 21st October 2020 due to the substantial increase in Covid-19 cases countrywide, Wexford Enterprise Centre reaffirms its commitment to ensure that all those still permitted to work within the building do so under the highest health and safety measures so that the Centre can continue to be accessible over the coming weeks for those companies delivering Essential Services in accordance with the new Government Guidelines and travel restrictions.

The increased health and safety measures re-introduced in early October are working well thanks to the diligent efforts by the resident tenants. Observing the latest safety and operational upgrades continues to build on the combined efforts to make sure that Wexford Enterprise Centre remains Covid-free.

Level 5 now places greater personal responsibility on all us to play our part in reducing the spread of this virus and I am confident in our ability to deliver on that request with support from all tenant companies, we have ensured the protection of all those using the Centre. Together we have also managed to navigate a well-defined path that has enabled us to remain operational throughout the entire duration of the pandemic. I want to thank you and your staff for your support in this regard.” – Brendan Ennis, CEO

Wexford Enterprise Centre responds to the Government’s move to Level 3 of the Living with COVID-19 Plan and reinstates Stage 3 of its own Covid-19 Business Continuity Plan

To comply with the latest Government decision to move all Counties to Level 3, Wexford Enterprise Centre will introduce the following restriction to the operations of the Centre:

From Wednesday, 7 October, only Tenants and their staff will be allowed entry to the Centre, Monday to Friday and then only between the hours of 8am to 5.30 pm. Occupation of the Centre outside of these hours including weekends, will not be possible, without consultation with the Centre management.

All entry and exit doors including the Main Reception Door will be locked at all times. Access to the building will only be available with key access through the Front Reception Door which will remain as the only entry point to the building. Any person unlocking this door at any time must re-lock it after them. Each Tenant is responsible for getting their staff in and out of the building. Exiting the Centre remains through the McConnell Door and must never be left in an open position.

In addition, deliveries of services or goods in the normal manner will no longer be possible and outgoing post will no longer be accepted from Tenants at reception. Meeting rooms will no longer be available, and the Smoking Shelter will be closed.

All Tenants and their staff are reminded to continue to observe personal health and safety procedures including non-invasive temperature checks, hand-sanitising, wearing of a facemasks and social distancing.

The Centre Point Café will offer a Takeaway Service (only) to Tenant Companies with a limited menu. The Café will operate from 8.30am, Monday to Friday, and will close its doors strictly at 2pm each day. If required, orders can be booked in advance at anna@ovendoorcatering.ie or 053 9144055.

Please be assured, our entire focus is on reducing in so far as possible the risk of you and your staff contracting the Virus while operating from the Centre and the continuation and success of your business. Our combined efforts since March has keep this Centre free from contamination and we sincerely thank you and your staff for your cooperation. We could not have achieved this without you. We are committed to doing everything within our control to ensure Wexford Enterprise Centre remains open to our tenant companies and their staff.” – Brendan Ennis, CEO Wexford Enterprise Centre

Dulann set to expand its operations

Without a doubt, this is a challenging time for the SME sector. But for Dulann, one of the resident companies located at Wexford Enterprise Centre, it is taking the opportunity to invest and grow its business.

Dulann is a Digital Transformation Company, though perhaps to the wider public, it is known more for its e-learning services, which only accounts for approximately 5-10% of their overall business.

Dulann specialises in applying technology to existing paperwork type systems to help companies to increase their compliance and efficiency. ‘Compliance is very much paperwork driven, so by deploying advances in technology, Dulann helps it’s clients to become far more efficient and cost effective. With the increased number of employees working remotely, conducting business by digital methods is more critical than ever’. Danone, Glanbia, Virgin Media and Zurich Insurance are just a few of their clients.

CEO Damian Donlon established Dulann in 2010, in the middle of the last recession. Now 10 years in operation, it employs 26 people throughout its network of offices all over Ireland and is currently looking to expanding its workforce. ‘Having started during the last recession helped us to adapt quickly to the current economic impact from the Covid-19 fall-out. The fact that we went through the last recession played a big part in how we are currently handling this one.’

Wexford Enterprise Centre is home to 30 diverse and dynamic businesses. We want to help our residents to get to know their ‘neighbours’. If your business has a story to tell, we’d love to share it. Email the WEC Communications Officer, Elizabeth Rose at elizabeth@wec.ie