Children in a family hub and two Direct Provision centres in Clare will receive a gift package of new books by leading Irish authors as part of an Arts Council initiative to ensure that as many people as possible can experience Culture Night (18th September).
Encouraging all parents to participate with their children, the government agency for funding and developing the arts, has partnered with Children’s Books Ireland to publish a special guide to 100 of the best Irish books for children. The Books Make Things Better reading guide will be distributed free of charge through bookshops and libraries, or can be downloaded on the Internet.
Two direct provision centres in Meelick and Lisdoonvarna and Novas family hub in Ennis will all benefit from the initiative.
“This is the first year that the Arts Council has taken on the stewardship of Culture Night, and it’s a year of extraordinary challenges, not least for artists and the entire arts sector,” said Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly. “We believe passionately that the arts are for every single person in Ireland, and that is at the heart of the Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy we launched last year. That’s why we have invested in broadening and diversifying audiences and participation in Culture Night.”
She said that because of the ongoing Covid-19 public health restrictions much of Culture Night would be virtual this year, but more than 1,000 real books would nonetheless be delivered to families around the country to promote the joy of opening and reading a book.
The accompanying reading guide, with a specially commissioned illustrated cover by Oliver Jeffers, featuring the best of new Irish publications for families and young people will also wing its ways to libraries and book shops.
Other projects on Culture Night being highlighted around the country for their commitment to equality, human rights and diversity include:
The Welcoming Project by dance artist Catherine Young who has been collaborating with residents in direct provision centres since 2015 in Kerry
Writer Oein DeBhairduin, from Tuam will develop and online and broadcast project on the Traveller Cant language with Creative Places Tuam, which is run by Create
Songs of protest will be sung at Pearse Museum by artists with disabilities, a project by Tallaght Community Arts and Alternative Entertainments
Film portraits of five women (WoW Awardees 2020) who are fighters for gender equality and social justice in Ireland by Outlandish Theatre Company, which will be projected around Dublin.
The Culture Night ‘trailblazers’ this year, represent the diversity of contemporary Irish artists, Fehdah, Mark Smith, Michael Gallen, Matthew Gardiner, Úna-Minh Kavanagh and international trailblazer Maeve Higgins, now based in New York, will highlight the international interest in Culture Night this year through the online aspects of the programme.
“Ireland boasts a wealth of artistic talent that, this year more than ever, we must promote and support,” the Arts Council Director added. “Our goals for Culture Night in 2020 are that it represents the vitality of art across diverse communities, that it acknowledges the value that art brings to all our lives, and its essential role in promoting wellbeing within society.”