A Rochdale artist is holding an exhibition at Emmaus Department Store to raise funds for the people with experience of homelessness supported here.

The three-storey store in Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre provides work experience for people who have been homeless, to help develop skills and build back confidence and self-esteem.

There are more than 50 places for people at Emmaus community homes in Lancashire, where people receive personalised support, training and help with wellbeing until the time is right to move on in their lives.

Clare McKee launched the digital art exhibition on the ground floor of the charity store at 1pm on Thursday, October 20th. The show will be open to visitors during the store opening times of 9am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, and run until January next year.

“Such an appropriate place to exhibit”

Clare from Rochdale said: “During my career, I have worked all over and seen the scale of the cardboard cities building up. Homelessness is far more evident now and Emmaus is a good cause.

“I like the ideas of Emmaus. I am an Emmaus Department Store customer, most recently covering a foot stool that I purchased. It was only when I was recently walking past after lockdown that I considered the charity’s department store such an appropriate place to exhibit.”

Clare has selected several pieces of abstract art from among her work to go on show. Each have been framed in the form of fine-art giclée prints and hung on the walls of the department store. These are available for purchase, alongside a selection of digital art prints.

The retired nurse graduated with a fine art degree from the University of Bolton and focused on digital art four years ago, having previously worked with oils, acrylic, pastels and charcoal. She has created work at an art residency in Cyprus.

She said: “I was inspired by an infant I saw with a digital device on a train journey to London and I thought this is the way forward. I’d describe my digital art as surrealist. During a previous exhibition, people were telling me the meanings of my work. The interpretation really is in the eye of the beholder.”

Liked by the Vatican Museum

Clare’s art has attracted attention from Rochdale Touchstones, which exhibited her work in a people’s show in the past, as well as Bolton Art Gallery. Art work she has posted on her Instagram account @Clare.McKee has received ‘likes’ from all over the world, including the Vatican Museum.

Emmaus Burnley and Emmaus Preston Head of Retail Joseph Broadhurst said: “It’s a privilege to welcome such a wonderful artist and Emmaus supporter to exhibit at our charity department store. We are incredibly grateful to Clare for choosing to display her work among our preloved and new items, and for offering to donate the proceeds from sales to help people with experience of homelessness.

“At Emmaus Department Store we get a lot of collectors for our vinyl, one-off pieces of furniture, pictures and frames, which form part of our 63,000 square feet of goods for sale. We will be very excited to be welcome more art-lovers to our store in the weeks to come. We’re very much looking forward to showing people round.”

The art exhibition of Clare’s work will run from October 20 to January 2023 at Emmaus Department Store. Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre, 50A Market Way, Rochdale OL16 1ED. All sales are in aid of Emmaus’ work in Lancashire.

Have you been inspired by Clare? If so, you can make a cash donation to support Emmaus here.