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Launch of Artsland Community Arts Projects

16th January 2020

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council in partnership with Cuilcagh to Cleenish: A Great Place is launching two Artsland Community Projects at 10.30am on Tuesday 28th January in Arney Millennium Hall.

Local school children from four local shared education primary schools and residents from the Cuilcagh to Cleenish have worked over the last number of months with Artsland artists-in -residence, artist Vincent McDonnell and playwright Kat Woods, to create a piece of community artwork and a play.

Vincent McDonnell was commissioned to create a piece of art inspired by traditional brick and ceramic making using local clay. Taking his inspiration from American folklorist and anthropologist Henry Glassie, who lived in Ballymenone  for seven years in the 1970s  and wrote Passing the Time in Ballymenone, McDonnell chose Ellen Cutler who was one of Glassie’s featured characters, and whose kitchen dresser was recognised by Glassie as a unique example of Irish folk art.  McDonnell recreated Cutler’s traditional Irish dresser and “dressed” it with plates made and painted with local heritage themes by school children from the area. McDonnell also crafted and fired miniature replica dressers made from Arney clay.

Playwright Kat Woods wrote a comedy entitled, Boyle Cutler Glassie and the Ceili Wake. The one act play, which will be available to local theatre groups for future performances, was inspired by the heritage audit recently undertaken by Cuilcagh to Cleenish and by the stories she heard about the writers, artists and local characters. Woods’ comedy, which is set around a competition to find the best Ceili house in Ireland, a title which carries a prize of £10,000, gives an entertaining glimpse into the life of people from the area.

The pieces were commissioned as part of the “Loughs, Bogs & Mountains” theme under the Artsland project which is currently being delivered across the district. Artsland is an arts initiative focusing on inclusion, cultural traditions and rural crafts and is co-funded by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The Cuilcagh to Cleenish: A Great Place project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Fund and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The partnership project is being delivered by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (lead), Cleenish Community Association, Killesher Community Development Association and the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark (Fermanagh and Omagh District Council).