There is something so refreshing about community arts – arts for arts sake if you will. What it brings is a genuine enjoyment and appreciation without labels, expectations, without – in the main – economics. Two such ventures available on a regular basis spring to mind – the wonderful Santry Gardens and the fantastic Fighting Words Writers’ Centre both run by volunteers. And of course Seven Towers which I have blogged about before. I like to think that I might alternate my place of writing and take a trip to the Gardens some day to write, in a space that might be called a writers’ corner, perhaps.
But what struck me wandering around the Temple Bar area last night during Culture Night, was the number of people involved in projects and creations that we’re not always aware of. My four and seven year old particularly enjoyed the graffiti spray painting and the music just off cow’s lane.
I got lost in inspiration in Debbie Paul’s exhibition at her Studio/Gallery. Alongside her jewellery with painstakingly attention to beauty found in the most tiny of objects – a raindrop, a pattern on a leaf – Paul displayed some of her inspiration: seaweed, twigs, branches. I treated myself to these beautiful earrings.
We spent an hour or so in the Exchange where we listened to some very talented youths giving fantastic renditions of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and even The Smiths alongside some readings from the Milk and Cookies writing group. All the while, my children painted on the wall and then waited patiently for their brilliantly crafted balloons.
But there was so much more: we had planned to listen to music in The Ark; I had wanted to hear Nuala Ní Chonchúir reading in The Winding Stair and Noel Duffy’s reading in The Irish Writers’ Centre. But that is the point here – at times of economic strain, as a nation our creative side comes to the fore.
It is to be applauded and most of all, appreciated.