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with Creativity & Connection

Offaly is transforming into a creative hub by creating active engagement within our community! Now Anam Beo artists have brought visibility, creativity with connection to the heartlands!

By Anna Carmody

Offaly’s strategy 2022 is to inspire, imagine and evolve and with the launching of the long-awaited Esker Arts Centre in Tullamore this year it is exciting times. Anam Beo artists serves as a collective for artistic skill sharing and social innovations within communities and care settings throughout Offaly. This summer Anam Beo’s arts, health and visibility campaign will take the form of an open air grand and accessible arts experience in the centre of Tullamore town from the 28th of April through to June. It will also showcase artwork by participants Samantha Leavy and Alison Mc Evoy from The Irish Wheelchair Association, Ballinagar. The artwork was produced during Anam Beo’s programme ‘Reconnect’ supported by The Bank of Ireland ‘Back to Arts Business to Arts fund’ and Julie Spollen’s ‘My Notebook, My Digital and I’ with an Offaly County Councils Artist’s Award. Also featured will be a beautiful floral image by Pauline Stronge who took part in the ‘Still Lives, Still Alive’ collaborative Artists in the Community Project where members from Tullamore Camera Club were facilitated by Photographic Artist Veronica Nicholson. 

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Congratulations to Samantha Leavy, Pauline Stronge and Alison McEvoy. Speaking about the project Pauline reflected on her experience; 

I am delighted and honoured that my photo has been selected for public display. Undertaking the ‘Still Lives, Still Alive’ project with Veronica Nicholson, a Photographic Artist, was a new challenge for me. It was very interesting and enjoyable to learn how to create photographs of ‘Still Life’. I have always had a keen interest in photography and joined Tullamore Camera Club many years ago. I would like to thank Veronica for her guidance and advice. I would also like to thank the other members of the Anam Beo group for their encouragement and support. Thanks, also to Julie Spollen, Anam Beo Project Manager who initiated the project” 

This billboard exhibition was to enhance public engagement in our community, promoting a place for the arts in civic spaces while nurturing and supporting individuals’ creative endeavours during the Bealtaine Festival, ‘Ireland’s National celebration of the arts and creativity as we age’. Artwork was displayed on High Street, Tullamore and changed every 2 weeks.

‘I enjoyed doing a different type of photography from what I normally do. I learned a lot about working in natural light.  An enjoyable experience.’  Philomena Brady

There is a large body of creative work being produced from the varied and individualised projects in Offaly’s community and care settings. Socially inclusive and participatory engagements that produce wonderful artwork. It is important to celebrate, promote activity and spaces that showcase the community’s artwork and creativity. This project was supported by Offaly County Council & Anam Beo Arts Organisation.

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