Four large-scale, innovative arts projects for audiences in every part of Ireland have received funding of more than €1 million from the Arts Council, with planning and preparation already begun in anticipation of the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government agency for funding and developing the arts said the awards came under its Open Call initiative, designed to stimulate the creation of ambitious and ground-breaking art for the public.
Speaking today, the Director of the Arts Council Maureen Kennelly said: “This year the Open Call projects demonstrate the transformative ability of the arts in public life with works that reach deeply into communities, provide opportunities for public participation and encourage thought provoking discourse about our environments. We are delighted to be able to support these ambitious programmes which will take place across the country over the next two years; making both an impact and leaving a lasting legacy with the public.“
The Arts Council said the Open Call initiative means artists and arts organisations can shift their practice to make work on a national scale, creating high-profile art work central to people’s lives. Projects may be a discourse, provocation or response to place and identity as part of contemporary Ireland.
The 4 successful Open Call projects are:
Dublin Fringe Festival
From Dublin Fringe Festival and partners Hot Brown Honey, Origins Eile and Dylan Coburn Gray, Weft is a new 18-month project focusing on talent development for emerging and early career Black artists and artists of colour in Ireland. The project will foster network and community building activity with visionary activists and artists, Origins Eile in residence at Fringe HQ, creating an open access programme of events. Theatre-maker Dylan Coburn Gray will facilitate a participant-led platform for exploratory and experimental works, made by emerging and early career artists breaking new ground in their practices. Hot Brown Honey will assemble a cast and crew of young Irish femmes of colour to create a dynamic new live performance. Weft will build new audiences and deliver thrilling new interdisciplinary performances in 2022, cultivating a visible, approachable entry point to the Irish arts industry for Black artists and artists of colour.
Poetry Town will commence with the appointment of 21 Poet Laureates, who will be commissioned to write a poem for their town, townspeople and the hinterlands. Individuals, groups and communities will be invited to celebrate poetry within their everyday lives and surroundings, creating communal experiences, celebrating the pride, value and importance of our heritage and the strength and diversity within rural areas today. The creation of new poems honouring these towns and the people who live in them, as well as planned activities including workshops, audio-visual experiences, school competitions, physically active poetry exercises, and a flagship event, will ensure Poetry Town is a celebration of communities and artists who are making great art in and for their own localities.
The School of Looking (Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly)
This floating ecological arts infrastructure - fitted out on a historic barge, the 48M, transformed to run on clean energy - will navigate the inland waterways of Ireland over three years working collaboratively with artists, scientists and communities to address climate change and support action to protect and conserve biodiversity. The project is supported by the Arts Council, Creative Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Waterways Ireland and 12 County Councils. The School of Looking (founded by artist Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly in 2018) will collaborate with several universities, research institutions and other national bodies associated with climate action to develop the boat’s programme, and they will commission 30 artists across the country to make works in collaboration with the Eco Showboat’s expeditions from 2021 to 2023, engaging with a wide public of all ages and social backgrounds.
SWIMMING A LONG WAY TOGETHER
Swimming a Long Way Together creates a series of site-specific events in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Donaghadee.
The events are inspired by Mercedes Gleitze and her pioneering swims around Ireland, 1928-31. Historical research and engagement with contemporary swimming communities is transformed into a sonic narrative in collaboration with artist-musician Ruth Clinton as sound weaves together he different event forms and locations.
Launching in Dublin this August, the “Swimposium” is a playful interpretation of the symposium format that unfolds as a daylong journey of swims, artist interventions and talks exploring open water swimming. In October a 30-hour community endurance swim takes place at Midleton College pool in Cork, accompanied by a marathon live performance programme. A promenade performance at Blackrock, Galway and a celebratory swim event in Donaghadee complete the 2022 programme before it travels to England and beyond. The project is curated by Rosie Hermon.
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