Read about the concept behind the Urban Forest project
I would like to draw your attention to a fascinating visual arts project to be unveiled in Ardagh Heritage Centre tomorrow night. The project is deeply rooted in ‘place’ which is the primary inspiration for many of our artists and writers.
I’m looking forward and I hope to see you there supporting what must be the hardest working artists and organisers in Longford.
Welcome to the ‘…and where are you from? Art of Longford Town lands’ Art Exhibition by Eilish Creamer and launch of teacher pack by Creative Ardagh.
This resource is designed to be used with the project website thanks to the support of Creative Ireland’s Longford Committee.
The project started when Creative Ardagh were approached by Granard-native, artist Eilish Creamer, with her vision for an art project to enable students to ‘increase their cultural identity and imagination by application of history and folklore to art’.
Eilish’s own work had led her to explore the unique shapes of the townlands around the county on maps and with her local knowledge she began to see images in the shapes. Her recent paintings feature stories from local legends, folklore and history such as the ’98 Ballinamuck Croppie picture on the website. We are delighted to have an exhibition of them in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre to coincide with the launch.
This teacher pack and accompanying website can be used as inspiration for a similar project in your local area. Inside you will find local history resources, lesson plans for introducing the project and ideas for a variety of interpretations in different media including drawing, paint and colour, fabric and fibre, clay and printing. All of this is linked to the primary school curriculum but the open-endedness of the project allows for adaptation for secondary school and adult groups also.
Links to lots more information can be found on the website:
Longford County Council Arts Office seeks submission of tenders from suitably qualified artists interested in assuming the role of Artist-in-Residence to the Longford Urban Forest Project.
For a broad description of the proposed project see: https://www.longfordarts.ie/visualarts/longford-urban-forest-project/
- The successful applicant will work for two hours each week with eight varied and geographically dispersed voluntary community groups.
- One group is located in Ballinamuck North Longford, two groups are situated in Granard, three groups are situated in Longford town and one each in Ballymahon and Edgeworthstown. The groups will have variable standards of construction skills and experience of creative expression.
- The selected artist will be expected to guide and advise the group in designing their individual interpretation of a tree and will assist with some of the practical elements of the project such as choice of found and recycled materials and practical structural consideration.
- The project will run for 14 weeks from Monday April 23rd to Friday July 20th. The individual trees will be collected into an Urban Forest that will be on display in various prominent locations around Longford town during the Cruthu Festival from 14th to 29th July 2018.
- Submission Period: Monday 9th April to 1.00pm Monday April 16th
- Project Duration: Monday April 23rd – Friday July 20th
- Artist will be expected to have their own car – travel expenses should be included as part of the proposed artist project fee.
- Artist will be expected to have their own professional indemnity insurance.
Submissions will be adjudicated and marks awarded according to the following criteria;
- The Artist’s experience in this particular form of community visual arts 20%
- The Aesthetic quality and practicality of design ideas submitted. The applicant artist is not required to submit eight definitive design proposals. The artist is not required to submit extensive drawings or illustrations. A written description of the artist’s aesthetic/design proposals is sufficient. 30%
- Fees – a cost basis that the artist considers fair for the amount and nature of the work involved. 50%
All tenders should be by e-mail.
E-mails should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
They should be marked; “Tender Submission for Artist-in-Residence to the Longford Urban Forest Project”
Closing date for receipt of tenders is 1.00pm Monday April 16th.
Longford County Council offer a prize of €1,000.00 and two runner up prizes of €250.00 to the community groups and secondary schools that creates the most original, imaginative and environmentally friendly tree.
Simply to create a tree – one that is large, colourful and made from found or re-cycled materials.
The tree can be a detailed reproduction of a realistic tree or it can be an imaginative re-interpretation of what you think your tree should look like.
The group has complete imaginative freedom to make – a group of trees, purple and orange trees, trees with wonderful creatures nesting in them, trees with coloured bottles and cans hanging from them as fruit from a tree.
You can have human trees – car trees – bicycle trees – trees growing from an old bath, out of someone’s head or whatever takes your fancy.
Why Create an Imaginary Tree?
To create an” Urban Forest” in Longford town during the Cruthu Festival 2018
Beautifully creative, bright, imaginative trees located throughout the town during the Festival will greatly add to the festival atmosphere in the town for the duration of the Cruthu Arts Festival 26th -30th July 2018. It will create a talking point for people and will help to bring art out into the street and closer to people. It will be a tremendous advertising exercise for the participating groups and is sure to be an enjoyable experience for the volunteers participating.
The trees will be located at prominent strategic locations throughout the town for the week of the festival thus guaranteeing maximum visibility. Places such as; in front of the cathedral. In front of the Temperance Hall at the convergence of Dublin and New Streets, Centenary Square, in front and behind the Market Square, on the site of the old Swimming Pool, at the top and bottom of the Battery Road, in front of the Army Barracks and around the railway station.
I know nothing about making a tree – how do I start?
Longford Arts Office will engage an artist experienced in these projects to work with the groups on a regular basis. The artists will initially visit each participating group to discuss and ‘flesh out’ a basic concept. Once the group has the basic drawings and dimensions of their piece they will begin to source discarded objects. They begin to build the piece. The group will receive regular visits from the artists in residence to help them realise their concept and deal with any technical issues that may arise.
- All materials used in the pieces must be found or re-cycled and therefore free.
- Pieces must be designed to be sturdy and not easily climbed or at least not attractive to climb
- Pieces must be designed to be well balanced so as not to easily blow over.
- Pieces should be made without sharp edges
- Pieces should not be made from substances that might be toxic or noxious
- Participating groups must make arrangements for transport of the pieces to and from the festival
- Each participating group must have its own adequate insurance in place during the assembly and transport of the piece. The festival committee will have adequate insurance in place for the duration of the festival.
- For groups not wishing to reclaim their tree after the festival LCC will arrange for the trees to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.
Longford Urban Forest Poetry Challenge
Longford poets and prose writers – of which there are many – will be invited to write a piece of literature inspired by and individual tree.The writer and the individual tree will be matched by lottery.
The writer can work with the voluntary community group or school while they create their own individual tree.
Through the insight gained in this way the writer will write an original piece of poetry or prose based loosely on the tree.
All of the trees will be gathered together into a wood at the 1916 Commemorative Garden on Great Water Street for an afternoon of music, literature and –“yes you guessed it” – trees!!!
Participating voluntary groups and writers will be photographed beside each tree and will be published in a booklet each on the opposite page to the writing it inspired.
The book will be launched on a date in Autumn 2018.
How to Flatten A Mountain Exhibition Wed 8 November
This November, photographic artist Alisha Doody launches her latest collection ‘How to Flatten a Mountain’ in Backstage Theatre’s Atrium Gallery.
Alisha’s practice is centred on issues relating to contemporary society and is focused on understanding how this relates to person, space and home. Her working methods are fluid and concerned with the interplay of medium and subject.
Her latest exhibition, ‘How to Flatten a Mountain’ is a reflection of human interaction with the landscape. Through movement in nature and space, the impact of this relationship is explored and made visible in the details. ‘How to Flatten a Mountain’ was first created during a residency of the same name in Cow House Studios, Wexford.
‘How to Flatten a Mountain’ opens in the Atrium Gallery, Backstage Theatre Longford on Wednesday 8 November at 8pm. Open to all.
Eve’s Garden – Stories from the Wild
Eibhilin Crossan’s latest exhibition ‘Eve’s Garden – Stories from the Wild’ was a huge hit with local art-lovers when it was on display in the Atrium Gallery in Backstage Theatre Longford in September. The exhibition represents a body of work she has created over the last year inspired by nature and in response to her environment.
The title of this exhibition – ‘Eve’s Garden: Stories from the Wild’, brings together the themes of the garden and the goddess.
The Longford-based contemporary artist has rediscovered her passion to create over the last number of years. Working predominantly with acrylic paint and inks, both on canvas and paper, she explores a range of subjects from abstracted botanicals and soft landscapes, to portraits and abstracts. The natural world that surrounds the garden and woodlands behind her home provide a rich source of inspiration for her work.
The Goddess series celebrates the sacred feminine as symbolic of mother-nature. Just as woman gives birth, so too does the earth give birth to the flowers and plants. The personification of this energy that gives birth to and nourishes form is properly female. The Celts honoured goddesses of nature and natural forces, with diverse qualities such as abundance, creation and beauty, as well as harshness and vengeance.
In the Garden series, she has explored both Canopy and Wildflower themes. Abstracting her experience of being immersed in nature, of walking through the woods, or sitting in the garden, under the trees, beneath the canopy of leaves. She has borrowed from shapes and shadows of the flowers and leaves and use the negative spaces to create composition. The soft lines and layers of rich colours create a sense of reflected light and evoke the sensuality and beauty of the organic world.
Three Thoughts One Breath
‘Three Thoughts, One Breath’ is a very unique exhibition which graced the walls of the Atrium Gallery in early September, showcasing work by three local portrait artists – Shelley Corcoran, Phil Atkinson and Angelika Florkiewicz.
“The exhibition originally came about with the idea of three artists using three different mediums depicting one subject, hence the name ‘Three Thoughts, One Breath’,” Shelley explained.
“Our admiration for each other’s work drove us to combine our individual skills and, because we are all portrait artists, we wanted to choose the portrait of where we live, Longford, and its people.”
The three styles used in the exhibition are unique to the artist. Shelley herself uses photography to express her psychoanalytical concept of the subject. Phil looks at life after humans, and how the earth claims back what humans have destroyed.
And Angelika aims to bring happiness to those who look upon her work, so she has created art in a comic book style, “because all comics that I read have a happy ending”, she says.
The three artists differ greatly, both in the media through which they choose to express themselves, and in the concepts the use in that expression. They didn’t physically work together for this exhibition, but selected the singular theme of the people of Longford to bind the exhibition.
The results were beautiful, with images depicting the people of Longford in very unique and interesting ways. And, with the success of ‘Three Thoughts, One Breath’, this autumn, the artists are bound to work together again.
“With the response we received from everyone in attendance, we feel it was a huge success and would love to collaborate again,” Shelley concluded.
See www.backstage.ie for more information on the Atrium Gallery.
There’s plenty of woodland in Longford as it is, but next summer, some of the county’s creatives will be turning Longford town into an urban forest using recycled materials to build beautiful, artistic trees.
The trees will bring a burst of colour to the town during next year’s Cruthú Arts Festival and there will be a prize of €1,000 and two runner-up prizes of €250 for the community groups that create the most original, imaginative and environmentally friendly trees.
The beautifully creative trees located throughout the town will greatly add to the festival atmosphere for the duration of Cruthú Arts Festival. It will create a talking point for people and will help to bring art out into the street and closer to people.
It will also be a tremendous advertising exercise for the participating groups and is sure to be an enjoyable bonding experience for the teams of volunteers participating.
The trees will be located a prominent strategic locations throughout the town for the week of the festival, such as the Cathedral, in front of the Temperance Hall, Centenary Square, the Market Square, on the site of the old swimming pool, at the top and bottom of Battery Road, in front of the Army Barracks and around the railway station, thus guaranteeing maximum visibility.
Longford Arts Office are looking for local groups to get involved in the making of these trees, whether it be a school or a community group. The Arts Office will then engage an artist experienced in these projects to work with the groups on a regular basis, so if you’ve never made a tree from recyclable material before, you’ll learn all you need to know.
The artists will initially visit each participating group to discuss and flesh out a basic concept. Then, once the group has the basic drawings and dimensions of their piece, they will begin to source discarded, recyclable object and begin to build their tree, with regular visits from the artist to offer guidance.
Each participating group will receive visits for representatives of the Tree Council of Ireland and other environmental agencies to talk to them about trees and related environmental issues, adding educational value to the project.
There will also be a Longford Urban Forest writing challenge, inviting local poets and prose writers to submit a piece of literature inspired by an individual tree, which will be matched to the writer via a lottery draw.
All of the trees will be then be gathered together to create a forest at the 1916 Commemorative Garden on Great Water Street for an afternoon of literature and music. Participating groups and writers will be photographed beside their respective trees and a book will be published with photographs and literature, to be launched in Autumn 2018.
So next summer, if you feel like taking a stroll through the woods, be sure to take a trip to Longford’s own Urban Forest and see the creativity the town has to offer.
As part of this year’s Cruthu visual arts programme Longford County Arts Office in Partnership with the Longford Public Participation Network commissioned the design and creation of temporary public art pieces made from found and disposable materials. The pieces were only intended to last for the duration of the festival and the plan was then to dispose of them in an environmentally responsible manner.
Street Artist Phil Atkinson worked with five local voluntary groups to design and create five imaginative objects that were used to decorate the streets of Longford and add to the festive atmosphere in the town during the arts festival.
The Edgeworthstown Development Association identified a large fallen oak tree in the grounds of Edgeworthstown Rectory. Given the age of the huge tree they speculated that it may have been there in the time of Maria Edgeworth the great 19th century writer. They therefore fashioned a beautiful bend which appeared to rest upon books and the back of which was designed as a salmon, symbolising the salmon of knowledge.
Lus na Greinne from Granard designed a very clever piece representing a spider in a web waiting to pounce upon an unsuspecting fly. This piece was very popular with children.
The Longford EDI Training Centre utilised their skills in upholstery and furniture repair to make two giant hands about to shake. One hand is primarily made of disused plastic drinks bottles the other made of upholstery off-cuts.
Cuan Mhuire and Granard Men’s Club made a scaled model of a traditional Irish cottage replete with cottage garden and pecking hens which was very popular with older viewers.
Finally the Longford Acorn Project created a beautiful Fairy figure standing upon a hill out of recycled soft drinks bottles.
Despite the initial intention to dispose of the pieces after the festival each group become so attached that they either kept the pieces of found an appreciative home for them.
Street Theatre or ‘Spectacle’ as it’s called in the business is one of the most exciting, colourful and an exuberant form of public creative expression and it is about time that Longford had some.
Street Theatre is so exciting because it embodies the best of music, dance, drama, painting, costume design, visual crafts and manual skills; it has something for every participant.
The establishment of – Mide – a Longford-based street theatre group was long overdue and when fully up and running will add a magical and dynamic element to our public events such as: St. Patrick’s Day Parades, Easter Parades, Dead of Night Festival, Ardagh Fright Fest, the Lanesborough Monster Festival, sporting occasions and many other civic events in the county.
Who should get involved? Anyone interested in; dance, drama any performing arts, people who are interested in costume and prop making, in fact anyone who has an interest in the arts or is good with their hands will be especially welcome. Do not discount yourself –everyone has something to offer.
The core of our Street Theatre Group is a group of adults with experience in some art-form or who has useful manual skills and this will be augmented with students from primary and secondary schools in Longford who will provide the dance, music and performance elements. The impressive ensemble his will be topped off by local musicians in costume providing the musical score to wonderfully imaginative pageants on our streets.
Longford County Arts Office has commissioned the internationally famous street theatre company ‘Artastic’ to come to Longford and work with the fledgling group imparting skills in prop-making street performance, fantastic costume design and making and all of the skills of the Mardi Gras.
The work with Artistic was followed by workshops in the Granard Enterprise Centre with tom Meskill from Macnas and will continue with workshops in puppet making and costume making by Catherine McGowan from Bui Bolg in Wexford in the Granard Creativity Centre in September.
If you would like to get n touch with Mide please contact:
Shane Crossan 087 6103003
Fergus Kennedy 086 8517595
An exhibition by Shelley Corcoran, Angelika Florkiewicz and Phil Atkinson
This is an intriguing exhibition of work in which three artists explore similar themes through their own unique art forms, Shelley Corcoran through photography, Angelika Sowul through line drawings/caricature and Phil Atkinson through paint.
The exhibition is indicative of the broad diversity of modes of expression among the visual arts community in Longford and of the growing maturity and sophistication of Longford visual artists.
Atrium Gallery, Backstage Theatre, Longford
4th September 2017 8pm
LAR MAGUIRE, JOSEPHINE GUILFOYLE + MARY REILLY
An evocative exhibition of work by three local artists, all using a variety of media, including oil and watercolour, to share with us their passionate response to the landscape around us.
Wednesday 7th June, 2017 at 8pm, in the Atrium Gallery at Backstage