A Culture Night like no other as art finds a way in pandemic

Emilee Geist

Dundalk’s thriving artistic community wasn’t going to let the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from celebrating Culture Night 2020 on Friday September 18 and while this year’s celebrations were a bit different from previous year, it was still a joyous occasion. While many events nationally were held online, An Táin Arts […]

Dundalk’s thriving artistic community wasn’t going to let the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from celebrating Culture Night 2020 on Friday September 18 and while this year’s celebrations were a bit different from previous year, it was still a joyous occasion.

While many events nationally were held online, An Táin Arts Centre and Creative Spark proved that live arts events can still take place in this most unusual of years.

‘It was a smaller Culture Night than other years but it was still heartening to see the numbers turning up to participate,’ said Paul Hayes, director/CEO An Táin Arts Centre.

This year’s reduced programme saw three workshops for adults and children by ceramic artist Etaoin O’Reilly sell out, while visitors were able to view her beautiful exhibition ‘The Thriving Flower’ in The Basement Gallery.

‘We had a good few people for the backstage tours which we do every year,’ added Paul.

Meanwhile, for their Big Community Relief at Creative Spark, members of the print studio got the biggest print roller imaginable when they utilised a steam roller to make some enormous prints!

The huge map of Louth, complete with its landmarks, historical castles and flora and fauna was designed by Caoimhe McCarthy of Little Twit designs, with artists from the print studio and members of the public helping to carve out the linocut over a number of days. ‘We had about twelve carvers over five days,’ said print studio co-ordinator Grainne Murphy.

Local artist Michael Stafford, who is also a member of the print studio, made a large print of John Hume. The steamroller hired from Dromad Hire was used to ink the prints, while Una Curley used it to create prints from natural materials gathered from the hedgerow.

‘We had 45 people in socially distanced pods,’ said Grainne, adding that the evening ended with everyone eating ice-cream as they were unable to serve wine!

Meanwhile, the Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen presented a night of music and poetry which was live streamed from the newly refurbished centre, with John McArdle reading from the works of Patrick Kavanagh, composer and Ulster Trailblazer for Culture Night Michael Gallen, legendary Irish band Scullion and poet Caitríona Ni Chléirchín. The concert, which also featured the video ‘Going Gentle’ is still available to view on their Facebook page.

The Argus

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