Home News Community Lots of opportunities for creative communities and schools in Laois this year

Lots of opportunities for creative communities and schools in Laois this year

The 'Into the West' Mural launch at the Old Cinema, Portarlington was part of Cruinniú na nÓg; a national day of free creativity for children and young people. L-R, Darren Warren (artist assistant); ADW, mural artist; Portarlington local, Sadie Hainsworth, who played the role of a cleaner in the film, Muireann Ni Chonaill, Arts Office Laois Co. Council; and actor Rúaidhrí Conroy who played 'Tito' in the film.

The Creative Ireland programme in Laois for 2020 is brimming with ideas on how to engage with communities.

The aim is to continue to invite communities to participate in wide and varied creative processes to foster an environment conducive to collaboration, innovation and creativity.

Laois County Council Heritage Officer and Creative Ireland Laois Co-ordinator, Catherine Casey, explains that there are many ways  for communities in the county, including youth groups, active retirement, schools, communities of interest, to become involved in creativity and culture, be that as initiators and innovators as well as participants and audiences.

“We are working within the Creative Ireland Laois programme to develop collaborations across the county underpinned with support, resources and expertise and as part of Arts, Heritage, Laois Library Service & Archives, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Music Generation Laois, Laois School of Music, Community, Enterprise, Tourism and Integration remits.

There are currently three opportunities for Laois communities to get involved. For all information, go to https://laois.ie/invitation-to-communities/ to download an Expression of Interest form and submit by Friday, March 6 .

Laois County Council, with the support of Creative Ireland and Midlands Science, is commissioning a team comprising an artist and a scientist to explore, engage with and present aspects of climate change in partnership with a community in Laois.

An artist and scientist will work collaboratively, combining their expertise and skill set to establish a socially engaged, participatory project in a local community.

Applicants should be members of Laois Public Participation Network (www.laoisppn.ie).

For further information on how culture and creativity can play an essential role in enabling communities to understand, interpret, and engage with aspects of climate change, go to www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en/news/climate-change-and-the-cultural-and-creative-sectors/

Rural Murals in Laois are an ideal opportunity to explore and represent architecture, heritage and community contexts, enabling communities to revisit old as well as creating new narratives, whilst contributing to the regeneration and place making of our towns and villages. A new mural within a town or village in Laois will be commissioned in association with a town or village in Laois and launched as part of Cruinniú na nÓg on June 13 this year.

Cruinniú na nÓg a is a national day of free creativity for children and young people.

Applicants should be members of Laois Public Participation Network (www.laoisppn.ie).

Any town that already has had a Mural commissioned from Creative Ireland funding is not eligible to submit an Expression of Interest.

Laois Heritage Office supported by Creative Ireland Laois and the Heritage Council is seeking schools and/or homeschool groups to become involved in Creative Heritage projects in the period leading up to Cruinniú na nÓg. Schools and home-school groups will have the opportunity to work with a Heritage in Schools specialist for a longer period (weekly for 5 – 6 weeks) to develop a project which can then be showcased as part of Cruinniu na nÓg on either in June. The Heritage in Schools Scheme provides a panel of 160 Heritage Specialists who visit primary schools throughout the country.

The specialist’s areas of expertise range from bats to whales, from Vikings to the history of bread, from story-telling to traditional dance, and from charcoal making to military heritage, to mention just a few.

In 2019, Creative Ireland Laois invested in culture and creativity in towns and villages across the county including, Portlaoise, Ballyfin, Stradbally, Abbeyleix, Clonaslee, Ballinakill, Mountrath, Durrow and Mountmellick and in local libraries.

A Sense of Place, the overarching theme within the Creative Ireland Laois Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018-2022 was explored and experienced through a range of initiatives including the commissioning of a large-scale mural Into the West by street artist, ADW on the Old Cinema in Portarlington as part of Cruinniú na nÓg.

In addition, initiatives included the Free Market exhibition in Mountmellick which highlighted the decline in rural market squares and through a programme of activities engaged the local community in thinking about repositioning Mountmellick town square as an economic and social hub.

The participants of the national touring architectural Free Market
exhibition & historical walk in the Mountmellick Freemasons Lodge.
Participants included not only interested locals but curators of the
Free Market programme, Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer Laois County
Council, Fionnuala Sweeney, Arts Council Ireland and Ann Lawlor,
Creative Ireland Laois

Music Generation Laois (MGL) Music Rich Schools Programme worked with Scoil Bhride NS, Portlaoise; Scoil Phadraig Naofa, Mountmellick; and St Joseph’s GNS, Mountmellick to provide access to performance music education, regardless of economic, cultural or social barriers. Community groups across 11 towns and villages were supported on initiatives such as, a new literary festival, The Power of Words in Abbeyleix; CD recording of Slieve Bloom Sean Nós featuring Ballyfin farmer and singer – Paddy Fitzpatrick; a mobile School of Rock ‘n Pop Bandwagon created by Laois School of Music and launched at Electric Picnic 2019; arts & crafts and circus skills programme with Laois Home Education; Mountrath Tidy Towns volunteers and associated groups worked with artist, Paul Finch, to develop traditional wattling skills  to create flower bed features to enhance the town; and broadcaster, Ann Marie Kelly’s spoken word event ‘If the Walls had Ears’ featuring Laois hurling manager, Eddie Brennan at The Pantry, Portlaoise.

Creative Ireland Laois is part of the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022 in partnership with Laois County Council.

For further information, go to www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en/laois and follow Creative Ireland Laois on Facebook @CreativeLaois.

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