Creative Ireland plan fore Laois set out to county's cultural community

Creative Ireland public meeting hears what is in store for developing the arts and culture in Laois

Express Reporter

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A public meeting was held last Monday, April 3, in the Killeshin Hotel, to announce details about the Creative Ireland programme which is rolling out countrywide at present.

Laois County Council have established a cultural team who are overseeing the development, representing expertise in the arts, library, heritage and community.

The large gathering comprised of individuals and groups interested in cultural developments in the county.
The meeting was addressed by the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Tom Mulhall as well as chief executive, John Mulholland. Arts officer, Muireann Ní Chonaill, has been appointed coordinator of the Laois Creative Ireland programme.

Music Generation’s Glee Club performed a selection of songs at the beginning of the night to get the audience into the right frame of mind. Their tutor, Lorna McLoughlin, accompanied them on the electric piano.

A presentation was made by John Concannon, director of Creative Ireland, a culture based programme designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing.

The core proposition is that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individuals and societal wellbeing and achievement.

Laois County Council demonstrated their unique capacity to activate and support community engagement and participation in marking the centenary year through a wide range of arts, culture and heritage initiatives.

Special mention and thanks were made to Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer on the substantial programme she coordinated to mark the centenary.

Creative Ireland aims to build on this success by leading on the development of a dedicated Culture and Creativity plan for Laois based on the premise that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing.

2017 will see a special focus on children and young people with the specific objective of fast-tracking the Charter for Arts in Education, which will significantly increase access and participation for children in high quality arts and culture experiences.
At the end of the presentation about Creative Ireland two questions were posed to the audience: what particular aspects of the Creative Ireland programme appeal to you, and why? How can County Laois make a distinctive contribution to the Creative Ireland programme, drawing on the particular cultural and creative resources of the county?

The feedback from the audience was given through a spokesperson at each table and all the responses were recorded. A multi annual plan will be coordinated and published later in the year. The plan for this year is underway.

A Creative Ireland grant scheme has been announced. The scheme will provide financial support to local and community groups, artistic and creative practitioners, event organisers and those involved in creative activities and projects, to encourage cultural participation throughout Laois. The level of grant assistance will range from €500 to €2,500.

Open to not-for-profit organizations, local community groups, arts, heritage and cultural groups, venues and societies. All applications received will be assessed based on an agreed selection criteria. The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday April 28 before 4pm.

A new national day of culture and creativity will take place nationwide on Easter Monday as part of the Creative Ireland programme.