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> Jo Lavelle
County and city community creativity is set to ignite in the coming months with the Galway 2020 flagship programme, Small Towns Big Ideas, kicking off.
The 52 successful Small Towns Big Ideas projects were announced this week, with the projects, which are aimed at creating more inclusive, culturally vibrant communities, being rolled out over the next 12 months.
Small Towns Big Ideas is one of the Galway 2020 flagship programmes, celebrating Meitheal, the ancient Irish tradition of coming together for a common purpose. The programme offers an exceptional opportunity for communities to do something that they normally wouldn’t be in a position to do – due to financial or other constraints. Galway 2020 will offer the financial support, advice, and the opportunity to work with artists to bring their ideas to life.
The Galway 2020 team was delighted by the response from across the city and county. There were almost 150 applications for funding, which demonstrates the huge appetite to participate in Galway 2020.
The 52 projects, which cover the length and breadth of Galway City and County, including Leitir Meallain, Ballinasloe, Knocknacarra, Oranmore, Oughterard, Portumna and the city centre, will breathe new creative life into communities. Projects include extraordinarily diverse artforms, such as the creation of a new night-time garden walk, a soccer tournament working with the homeless community, the world’s biggest temporary sculpture from waste, and an ironwork festival. Everything from traditional to contemporary, to old and new, will be celebrated in this first round of funding from Small Towns Big Ideas, with the second round of funding taking place in 2019.
The Small Towns Big Ideas Programme is open to all community organisations across Galway City and County. The team at Galway 2020 initially assessed all applications against the criteria outlined. An independent assessment panel then judged applications, and selected the successful projects.
The independent assessment panel consisted of Noel Kelly, Director of Visual Artists in Ireland (VAI), and Margaret Flannery, Arts Officer, UCHG, assisted by Galway 2020 Creative Director, Chris Baldwin. Both members of the panel were overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm, creativity and quality of the applications.
Galway 2020 Chief Executive, Hannah Kiely, says that Small Towns Big Ideas is an integral part of the programme. “Getting out into the communities of Galway County and City, and enabling those who want to make their creative ideas a reality, is a huge part of what Galway 2020 is about. It’s about involving everyone – regardless of age, gender, background or geographical location – in this wonderful opportunity to transform our communities through creativity. This is just the beginning, and we’re very excited about what’s to come from Small Towns Big Ideas in the coming months and years.”
“This is such an exciting opportunity for our communities across the county and city. The energy, the creativity and the sheer imagination of our communities is amazing. We are honoured to have these projects as part of the Galway 2020 Programme and we look forward to many more opportunities to work with our communities in the run up to 2020,” says Galway 2020 Programme Manager, Marilyn Reddan Gaughan.
For more details see here.
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