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Bealtaine in West Cork

Bealtaine 2017
Celebrating creativity as we age
5 May to 11 June at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre is celebrating this year’s national Bealtaine Festival with a multidisciplinary exhibition, showcasing many of the art programmes and projects with older people that take place at the Centre and throughout the region, along with gallery tours, workshops and once off events.

A selection of work from West Cork Arts Centre Older People’s programme will be on exhibition from 5 May to 11 June in the Stairwell & Corridor Galleries. The exhibition includes a collage artwork by Early Bird Artists who meet at Uillinn each Monday morning and a selection of printmaking, poetry, music made by residents in six West Cork Community Hospitals and several West Cork Day Care Centres facilitated by a team of local artists working on the Arts for Health Partnership Programme.

In Yonder Garden Grows combines poetry, music and flowers to connect Arts for Health participants in in three hospitals; Castletownbere, Clonakilty and Bantry. Each week, Tess Leak, the artist leading the project, would take in armfuls of flowers from The Glebe Gardens in Baltimore to inspire lively and thoughtful conversations, with a small part of the natural world enlivening the hospital setting. ‘People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us! ‘ a quote by Iris Murdoch inspired the work produced. Musician Liz Clark, from Baltimore collaborated by bringing flower-themed songs to enrich the experience. Tess curated the poems and artwork with designer Orlagh O’Brien from Haiku Island Press to create by hand a limited edition book for this exhibition.

For three weeks during Bealtaine visitors to Uillinn can visit Studio 3 to meet two older artist members in residency. Sonia Bidwell is a textile artist and storyteller who spent most of her life in Scotland. Her woven artworks, incorporating found objects, are packed with symbolism and inspired by her love of literature and poetry. Fran Woolf, a graduate of the BA (Hons) Visual Art Sherkin Island and a member of Cork Printmakers, creates paintings, prints and photographs that examine the natural world as seen from her viewpoint; an old farmhouse clinging to a high rock overlooking a wide expanse of West Cork. Sonia and Fran will be in residence from 8 – 27 May. Both artists will have work on exhibit in the main gallery as part of the annual Members Exhibition. Free tour of this exhibition will be on Saturday 13 May, 11:30pm, all welcome

Uillinn Dancer in residence, Helga Deasy will host a workshop Monday 8 May at 12:30pm ‘This gentle movement workshop focuses on developing bodily awareness and finding efficiency in posture and movement patterns. We will work with the breath as a movement source and explore imagery to find freedom and creativity in movement.’

According to Programme Manager Justine Foster, ‘this multimedia exhibition includes a variety of work and approaches by participants on our older peoples programme. Each year the quantity and quality of work is inspiring and this year is no exception. One of the more fun and interactive projects is Radiophone, an installation where visitors are invited to relax in an armchair, pick up the old style telephone and listen to tracks created and recorded by older people in residential care settings working with musician and composers’ on the Arts for Health Programme, Liz Clark and Justin Grounds’

More artwork from older people’s programmes and groups can be seen in the Bealtaine Art Trail at branch County Libraries in Bantry, Dunmanway, Castletownbere, Schull and Skibbereen and many other events taking place during the Bealtaine Festival throughout West Cork, including the highly popular annual Bealtaine Tea Dance which this year will take place on Tuesday 2 May at 12:30pm -5:00pm Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery (for tickets contact 023888722)

The Bealtaine Festival takes place each May throughout Ireland and involves thousands of participants in every art form. The ancient festival of Bealtaine or Beltane (held on May 1), marked the midway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, and heralded the start of Summer. The word Bealtaine is still used in the Irish language and translates as the month of May. Part-funded by the Arts Council, Bealtaine is coordinated by Age & Opportunity, the national organisation working to promote greater participation by older people in society.

Contact: if you want to book into an event contact Uillinn reception, if you want to share news of your event or have an idea for an event contact