Bealtaine at Uillinn in 2023, celebrating the arts and creativity as we age.
We have so much to share this month for Bealtaine at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, a national Arts event that takes place each May throughout Ireland and involves thousands of participants, community groups and organisations, coordinated by Age & Opportunity.
To open our event, we will premiere a screening of The Last Train to Nowhere, a short multimedia film exploring memory and imagination that draws on poetry, drawings, musical soundscape within the theme of West Cork Railways. Coordinated by composer and filmmaker Justin Grounds, in collaboration with participants in the Arts for Health programme in Skibbereen, Schull and Bantry community hospitals and visual artists Sarah Ruttle, Sharon Dipity and writer Elizabeth Murray, the project evolved over several months, with each piece of artistic work inspiring the next stage of the development. The screening will take place online and in-person at Uillinn and the hospitals on 1 May at 11am.
Also on 1 May is the opening of an exhibition in the Stairwell Gallery of work created on Uilllin’s programmes for older people over the last years, both here at the Centre and outreach at the Hospitals and Day Care. Alongside original artwork from the film The Last Train to Nowhere the exhibition features Graffiti (From Cave Painting to Graffiti Part 2) a series of mixed media artworks, created by residents of Skibbereen Community Hospital facilitated by artist Sharon Dipity, inspired by graffiti from around the world, as well as a new series of paintings by Arts for an Active Mind Group exploring doorways, both as a physical and metaphorical object. Arts for an Active Mind is a weekly session facilitated by Paul Cialis that has taken place at Uillinn on Monday mornings since 2002.
Alongside Uillinn’s exhibition, artist Bénédicte Coleman has organised a series of exhibitions Blanket Stitch at Castletownbere, Dunmanway and Bantry Libraries sharing a series of freehand embroidery works exploring the idea of ‘home’ and using preloved blankets to form the base of the works by participants on the Arts for Health Partnership Programme.
Salt and Pepper returns for a second year with artist Toma McCullim as creative producer, ‘Salt and Pepper because we are at the time of life when our hair is starting to speckle but we are also the essential spice of life!’ the project invites older people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Trans or a sprinkle of all those terms and shake of others to weekly sessions or studio drop in 2 – 13 May to create together and document an important moment in time for our older and rural LGBTQ+ community; reflecting on past and present challenges and celebrate older rainbow generation commonality and achievements.
On Friday 5 May, In the Picture invites people living with dementia and their family, friends or professional carers to visit our current exhibition to look and discuss with others in a safe and welcoming environment. These special tours are about making observations, describing, and building connections facilitated by healthcare professional Sarah Cairns and artist Sarah Ruttle. This seated tour includes light refreshments as part of the social and friendly approach.
As part of Age & Opportunities, Roots and Shoots – an exciting nationwide programme of visual arts events taking place as part of Bealtaine Festival and in partnership with Ireland’s leading visual arts organisations – Artist in Residence Sharon Dipity invites participants to explore mark-making, movement and writing on Tuesday, 16 May 6:30 – 8:00pm. Working with our own bodies to create drawings from the inside out, we will move and draw using a variety of drawing tools.
While in studio at Uillinn 3 May to 3 June, Sharon Dipity who was awarded this year’s Bealtaine Artist in Residence, by Uillinn in partnership with Cork County Council, will be investigating the dynamic between the drawn line and body movement in the context of her own experience of aging. Both embracing and transcending the limitations of an old injury, she will explore and create her own fluid vocabulary of mark-making, movement, and gesture. Visitors to Uillinn are invited to drop in to Sharons studio for Thank Uillinn its Friday! and take part with Sharon’s drawing process. To find out more you can go to Sharons webpage.
Bringing music to the programme is the HSE Campus Choir in Skibbereen with Choral Director Liz Clark who plan to head over to the older residents at Perrot House on Monday 8 May, to share a special lunchtime concert of songs from their repertoire.
On Thursday 18 May 10:00am to 2:00pm there will be a showcase of our Creative Carer programme where Carers from across West Cork are invited to a drop in workshop with visual artist Sarah Ruttle as part of Wellness Day in Schull Harbour Hotel organised by Carer and Older Persons Initiative and HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare.
And for a wonderful finale, a special one song release from The Dunmanway Sessions a series of songs are sung a cappella in English and Irish, that are being recorded without frills in Dunmanway Hospital and Day Care setting by Contemporary Folk Artist Lewis Barfoot over the last few months.
Bealtaine Public events calendar 2023
1 – 31 May Bealtaine Exhibition with work from Arts for an Active Mind and Arts for Health at Uillinn Stairwell gallery and Blanket Stitch curated by Bénédicte Coleman at Castletownbere, Dunmanway, and Bantry Libraries.
1 May, 11am Online release of The Last Train to Nowhere
3 May – 3 June Sharon Dipity Bealtaine Artist in Residence – Studio 1 at Uillinn including The Line Has Two Sides workshop Tuesday, 16 May 6:30 – 8:00pm and Fridays, Open Studio day 10am – 4:30pm
5 May, 2:00pm In the Picture with Sarah Ruttle and Sarah Cairns in the Gallery at Uillinn
2 – 13 May Toma McCullim Salt and Pepper Studio 3 with sessions 7pm – 9:30pm Tuesdays at Uillinn
Thursday 18 May 10:00am – 12:30am Creative Carers drop in workshop at Wellness Day in Schull Harbour Hotel with Sarah Ruttle
26 May Online release of first track of The Dunmanway Sessions CD with Lewis Barfoot and the residents, staff of Dunmanway Community Hospital and Day Care
Bealtaine is Ireland’s national festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age. The festival is run by Age & Opportunity, the leading national development organisation working to enable the best possible quality of life for us all as we age.
Age & Opportunity Arts provides opportunities for older people to be more creative more often, to create meaningful participation and representation for all older people in cultural and creative life and to demonstrate and celebrate how our creative potential can improve with age.