Twenty-plus local projects funded through Westmeath Creative Ireland 2023 Grants

Some 20 creative projects have been funded in Westmeath as part of the Creative Ireland Grants in 2023.

They include live podcast shows, samba bands, animation workshops, art installations, eco-art camps, and more.

Funding ranging from €750 to €7,500 was on offer through the programme, and in total, Westmeath Arts Office awarded €120,000 in Creative Ireland grants for the county for 2023.

This investment comes as Westmeath Arts launches a new five-year Creative Ireland Strategy, which is guided by a vision that every person in Ireland will have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential.

Miriam Mulrennan, Westmeath arts officer, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the recipients of Creative Ireland Grants in 2023. The application process for 2023 was highly competitive, and the quality of submissions this year speaks to the huge creative capacity of people, groups and organisations in Westmeath.

“Westmeath is a hub of cultural activity in Ireland, and we are excited to see the county’s creative capacity continue to develop through the Creative Ireland programme over the next five years.”

Below is a list of the awarded projects and corresponding awards (almost €90,000 in total). The remainder of the fund is being used for projects run by culture teams from Westmeath Heritage, Libraries and Arts.

Anna Browne (€4860): Lake County Learnings: skills of the past for a resilient future, a series of 14 workshops and discussions for a maximum of 12 people per session, and delivered in-person.

Seamus O’Brien (€1000): local history seminar.

Mullingar MHA (€2100): the Our Vision Our Voice 2023 project is the continuation of a six-year collaboration between Mullingar Mental Health Association, the HSE Mental Health Services (service users and occupational therapy staff) and visual artist Rosaleen Heavin. It is one of the co-produced inclusive programmes provided to help a diverse group of people on their journey of recovery and making the arts accessible, as there are many barriers facing that group. It is achieved by encouraging their abilities, helping them to learn a new skill, promoting independence and inclusion.

Rachel Coyne, Cúige (€3540): Women’s Art Circle. The aim of Women’s Art Circle, Mullingar, is to provide free art classes to women who are unable to attend evening classes due to financial or childcare reasons. Priority to single mothers or those who have experienced domestic violence or homelessness.

Athlone Resource Centre (€4550): Triskle Community Arts and Theatre programme.

Adrian Masterson (€5325): Creative Realms. The aim of the project is to create a series of 10 mixed media images and installations of various locations around Westmeath. The images are to tell stories of old and new original pieces created by local story tellers, poets and writers.

Ann Wingfield (€3200): Art from Artefacts.

Dun na Si (€4875): Mindfulness Labyrinth Path at Dún na Sí Amenity Park.

Cara Phort and Emma O’Brien (€2057): Photography, Place and Identity with Emma O’Brien.

New Horizons Gerry Callaghan (€4680): seven days of animation workshops with young people. This would constitute two days of introductory animation workshops in which up to 100 participants, aged between eight and 17, could create their own individual animations using hand drawn animation techniques. In addition to this there would be a five-day animation film-making workshop in which 12 participants would create two short animated films, working as two groups of six.

Sophie Maltzan (€4855): ‘The land that feeds us’ – creating a synergy between human animal and plant

Mick Cronin (€4875): Teenage Wasteland podcast live shows.

Jurgita Stuckaite (€3796): ‘The power of words’.

Water Street Association (€3750): monthly music and arts events, the primary responsibility of Maedhbh with Rachel pitching in with back-up support and the Water Street Association providing organisational support. The outdoor summer eco-art camps and mural will be the responsibility of Mariza.

Luan Gallery (€4875): Climate Change Outreach Programme, Onsite at Luan Gallery and Abbey Road Artists Studios and online.

Lucy Tormey (€4875): Inside Out, Cluain Lir Nursing Home.

Margaret Broome, Music Generation (€4875): Rhythm and Blues Youth Music Residency.

Katy Harrison, The Yoga Picnic Team (€4875): The Yoga Picnic is a day of movement, therapies, discussion and music.

Emma O’Brien and Jurgita with Ukrainians (€1747): ‘Where we Are’ documentary photography workshops with Ukrainians. ‘A creative project to engage local young people exploring identity and place through documentary photography. The aims are to help young people to integrate into their new community, express their feelings and be included socially. One of the main aims is to keep alive Ukrainian language and culture.

Cuige Studios (€3700): The Coterie.

Teresa Dillon (€4875): ‘Of Reeds and Stone, Part 2’ (working title) came about from Repairs Act.

Aoife Raleigh (€4700): Amigas de Samba. Amigas de Samba is a social integration project which will use drumming as a community building tool. Support is being sought for the initial meetings and training of the core members of the band. The project is in reaction to the increasing anti-immigration sentiment locally and the need for integration and cultural outlets for the wider community. The main goal is to create an inclusive space where adults of all ages and backgrounds can socialise and express themselves in a group.