MAY belongs to the Bealtaine festival, celebrating creativity as we age, and this week the West Cork Arts Centre hosted a special lunch for people celebrating a programme that has been running for 10 years doing just that.
Declan Tiernan, chairperson of West Cork Arts Centre, launched an exhibition which includes poetry, an interactive installation, a group portrait of artist Maine Jellet and a selection of favourite paintings from this year.
In his opening address, Declan expressed the importance of Arts for an Active Mind programme to the organisation.
‘After twenty years of being involved in the Bealtaine festival, today is one of the most special,’ he said.
‘Today we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Arts for an Active Mind, a dedicated and lively group of creative older people who wake up Uillinn every week at 10am on a Monday morning to work with professional artist and group facilitator Paul Cialis,’ he said.
Paul has been the facilitator, along with other guest artists, since it began.
‘Each person in the group has taught me something important, it’s a fabulous atmosphere of support, creativity and dignity, did I mention it’s a great laugh too,’ he said.
Arts for an Active Mind programme is made up of 14 of participants, who call themselves ‘The Early Birds’.
They meet each week at West Cork Arts Centre to explore the possibilities of visual art. Each term the participants take on a new challenge to investigate alternative approaches to applying the skills they acquire and to look for new ways to inform and inspire their work.
They go on outings, exhibition tours, performances and bring back their ideas and discussion to the Monday morning sessions.
Lena Cronin, from Cork Education and Training Board, which has supported the programme since it began in 2005, recognised each person’s achievements and the lasting value of such quality education and community programmes.
The exhibition is currently on show at the West Cork Arts Centre – Uillinn –in Skibbereen, and is part of the Uillinn’s celebration of the Bealtaine festival.