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Library News and Developments
2006 to bear fruits of Arts Office planning
Clare Champion, Friday, 13th January 2006
“In 2005 we spent a lot of time preparing work for much of what we are doing this year. In general, while 2005 was low key, particularly in the early part of the year, the fruits of what we have been planning will be brought to bear in 2006. These projects which we have been working on are now coming into their own,” she said. “Much of our work is in the developmental stage, getting involved from the start of a new project to help it grow and develop. Occasionally we do some once-off projects but most of what we do are slow burning projects which are gathering momentum at the moment.” This ‘slow burn’ effect is one which the Arts Office will continue to utilise in their new arts plan for the county which they are busy preparing. “We have been looking back and forward over the last year, taking stock of what has been done and what needs to be done. With the new arts plan, we are looking at taking a few key projects and doing them well, I am far more interested in doing things right so that they are sustainable in the future rather than try and do a lot of things,” she said.
In the five years since the implementation of the last arts plan, there has been a huge transformation in the arts in Clare, she commented. “We saw the opening of Glór which completely changed the landscape of the arts in the county. In terms of capital development, we have seen the opening of the Tulla Stables Studio and of course we are continuing to hold exhibitions in the library in Ennis which are constantly booked out.
We are also hosting exhibitions in the foyer of the County Library. And in terms of infrastructure, there has been a lot happening with more to come. The Court House in Ennistymon is currently inviting artists to use its new studios,” she said.
One of the projects which is due to come on stream this year is the innovative Trad Group in Residence scheme. While full details have yet to be released, Ms Mulcahy revealed that the group will be formed by four musicians who will perform at various events throughout the county. “This is a big step for us and we are the first local authority to do this, it is a significant investment in the traditional arts as well as being an investment in the musicians themselves. We will be working with them to develop themselves and their performance and they will be performing at various events throughout the year,” she said.
The strength of traditional music in the county is something that the Arts Office is keen to build on, however, they are also encouraging other art forms. “Traditional music is so strong in the county and it is fantastic to have that as a backbone for the artistic community which everybody can appreciate. However we are also diversifying and there has been a lot of interest in this diversity, an example of this would be the artist in schools scheme which has been hugely successful,” she said.
Another project coming to fruition this year will be the setting up of a youth theatre, she revealed. 25 youngsters from all over the county have been working on a youth theatre programme at Glór since July and their first full scale production is planned to be on stage in March. “All aspects of the production will be looked after by the young people, from the costumes and sets to the acting on stage. Also the production will mark the official launching of the youth theatre. “It started out as a two-week workshop in Glór in the summer and from that it has grown. Work on the production started in July so they have spent almost a year working on it and thinking it through. The production in March will be the first of many we hope,” she said.
In the summer, there are a number of art projects planned in rural parts of the county as part of the ‘Ground Up’ series of contemporary art works. These will be temporary art works and the event will lead into October when the Arts Office are organising, in conjunction with GMIT, a European conference in Ennis on the area of contemporary art in rural areas. “A lot of contemporary art is associated with urban areas and we want to change that,” said Ms Mulcahy. As part of this, there will be another series of art works installed throughout rural areas of the county.
Other events planned for this year include an exhibition of paintings in Glór by those involved in the Embrace project, featuring works from over 60 people with disabilities. In May, a series of events are being planned for Bealtaine, the national festival for creativity in older people organised by Age and Opportunity.