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New Bealtaine art commission announced

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*Photograph: Anthony Griffin

Artists and communities across the county are being invited by Clare County Council’s Arts Office to participate in a new initiative celebrating the Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival – Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age.

Arts offices in Clare, Galway, Roscommon and IMMA’s Residency Programme are hosting the initiative where a visual artist over the age of fifty will be commissioned to create a new work in response to the 2019/2020 Bealtaine theme of Hospitality and relating festival slogan: Be Our Guest. The commission will involve a public art engagement in the Mid-West Region, as well as a development and research residency in IMMA. The commission will also culminate in a significant public sharing of work for the Bealtaine Festival 2020.

Selected artists, Maeve Collins, Julie Griffiths and Monica de Bath are long-time members of Ground Up Artist’s Collective which supports, promotes and advocates for rural based art projects and events which engage with local communities of place or communities of interest.  Their project, ‘Tar Isteach | Come In’, will draw on the artisanal skills and cultural perspectives of participants, combining these with the experience and knowledge that each of the artists bring.

Artworks will be created by participants, in a sharing of art practices and cultural traditions, through an exchange of knowledge, skills and experience. Somalian bracelet making, Syrian basket weaving, Georgian knitting, German salt dough sculptures all may feature in the project, as well as walking, drawing and bread-making workshops.

Speaking about the commission Age & Opportunity’s Arts Programme Manager and Bealtaine Festival Director, Tara Byrne said, “This project is a central part of Bealtaine’s national remit and intention to work with every local authority in Ireland. Through it we want to celebrate the work of older artists working in every corner of Ireland and offer them the chance to develop a new work with communities in those localities over a two-year period. We are thrilled to be working with Clare, Galway and Roscommon Arts Offices, as well as the Irish Museum of Modern Art and to have commissioned the Ground Up Arts Collective for this exciting project.”

Siobhan Mulcahy from Clare County Council Arts Office said, “As a county that prides itself on hospitality, we are delighted to be supporting the local Ground Up Artists Collective, as they work throughout the West of Ireland on this exciting and important project. We envisage this project will resonate with communities of interest throughout the West, enabling experienced artists to share their skills whilst embracing new shared experiences that may in turn influence their own way of working and the artworks created.”

See for more details.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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