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Creative Places Baltinglass

From left to right, Tearmann Community Garden Committee Member, Patricia Norton, Lexi O Brien, T.J. Norton, Tearmann Community Garden Committee Member, Mary Vernon, Ruby O Brien, Grace Norton, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, Karolina Hrudieva, Baltinglass Tidy Towns Member, Terri Kenny, and Wicklow County Council Director of Service, Michael Nicholson, in Baltinglass Abbey. Photo credit: Mark Stedman.

Following a successful application led by Wicklow County Council in partnership with local community development organisations in Baltinglass and West Wicklow, the people of Baltinglass will benefit from an investment programme to the amount of €375,000 awarded by the Arts Council to develop and sustain new creative opportunities for all age groups over the next three years.

Creative Places is an opportunity for locations which had not benefitted from sustained arts investment in the past to build local arts programmes which will benefit local people. Each programme will have a coordinator and the approach is inclusive and diverse and rooted in socially engaged practice and community development principles. It builds on existing cultural strengths and is led by community participation and ideas and supported by artists.

To launch Creative Places Baltinglass, Wicklow Arts Office created a special Culture Night programme which took place on Friday, 23rd September. Culture Night is an annual all-island celebration of culture, creativity and the arts. It seeks to actively promote the rich and varied culture treasured and nurtured in people’s lives, today and every day, across Ireland. 

The programme included:

  • Bodhrán Buzz Family Workshop where children and adults learned how to hold the bodhran, and the stick and master the basics of getting the first few beats
  • Harpist Aisling Ennis, soprano Catherine Redding and local author Robert Barrett presented a classical recital of beautiful, evocative and charming selections by Fauré, Debussy, Bellini and Strauss titled ‘Songs to the Moon’
  • West Wicklow based trad sensations Kíla performed as part of their tour celebrating 35 years of composing tunes and wowing audiences with their unique brand of Trad Fusion
  • And The Voyagers, a four-piece band consisting of, guitar, violin, flute and bodhrán with powerful vocal arrangements, performanced 30-minute opening set fetauring an eclectic mix of contemporary trad while also bringing a fresh sound to traditional songs.

Finally, in partnership with Wicklow Library Services, Baltinglass library also hosted two activities:

  • Felt Making Workshop with Tamzen Lundy where children aged 5 -12 will learn the basics of wet felting, the world’s oldest form of textile making
  • Painting Workshops with local artist Maura O’Halloran where children and adults will draw inspiration from local landmarks and learn tips and tricks.  Perfect for beginners.

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, said: “The community of Baltinglass is extremely excited to have received this investment through the Arts Council’s Creative Places initiative.  The amount of investment is unprecedented and will be really well received.”

Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Brian Gleeson, stated that the application was well supported by the community and voluntary sector from the area and now they will continue to work collaboratively to ensure the initiative will have maximum impact.

Director of the Arts Council, Maureen Kennelly, stated: “We are delighted to be awarding Creative Places Baltinglass; it is not a place where we have not been able to invest before and it is very important to us that public investment in the arts reaches and benefits more people in a sustained and meaningful way. We are very excited to see how the people of Baltinglass will respond to what matters to them most, and we look forward to working further with the community and Wicklow County Council”. 

Over the autumn, Creative Places Baltinglass programme will be established, a coordinator will be appointed, and conversations with the community will get underway. 

Managed by Wicklow County Arts Office, contact Síle Stewart, Art Services Coordinator, at 0404 20100 extn. 4910 or email sstewart@wicklowcoco.ie for more information.

From left to right, Wicklow County Council Arts Officer, Jenny Sherwin, Tearmann Community Garden Committee Member, Mary Vernon, Wicklow County Council Director of Service, Michael Nicholson, T.J. Norton, Tearmann Community Garden Committee Member, Patricia Norton, and Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, in Baltinglass Abbey. Photo credit: Mark Stedman.