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"Moynalty Community Outdoor Art Exhibition " EPIC Award nomination Ireland and British Isles.

Post- script:
In 2013, Moynalty won the National Tidy Towns award. The following community arts project was mentioned on the adjudicators report, and we like to think that the community energy involved in this outdoor art exhibition contributed in some small way towards that award!

Left to right-  Helen Farrell, John O Brien, Heather Buchanan, Catherine Mc Cormack, Deirdre Gilsenan.

Weighed down by the gloom of a long winter in 2012, our thoughts went to dreaming of longer days when leaf buds would form on trees, birds would start to look for materials with which to build their nests and a certain light would appear in our daylight hours. A notion formed of creating outdoor artpieces alongside  nature, as she created the following season.
A brave or foolish notion ? I wasn't sure , but it didn't go away. It became stronger, and we began to consider the idea of forming a working artgroup in the lovely  village of Moynalty.

"We're famous !!" - The Meath Chronicle, June 8th

So, in February 2013, some  local community in the village responded to an advertisement enquiring if there were any people interested in working towards an Art Exhibition with a difference - the difference being that the exhibition would be outdoors and any artwork made would have to withstand our friendly Irish climate for a few weeks ! 
  Posters were put in the few local businesses, but mostly people heard of the project by word of mouth. 

" Bird Installation" by Deirdre Gilsenan
Organic fibres

The brief would be to make artwork out of recycled materials, while working collectively to a chosen theme.
 A group of like-minded creative individuals tentatively, but excitedly came together, on a very cold and wet Saturday in February 2013, and chose the theme  “ Plain of the Flocks " ( Maigh nEalta).
This theme was chosen a few reasons. "Plain of the Flocks" is the English translation of Maigh nEalta, Gaelic name for Moynalty. Whereas "flocks" can be interpreted as flocks of sheep, cattle, birds and others -  the working group of artists who came together felt they would like to concentrate on the everpresent flocks of birds in and around the village , which add so much to the fabric of the daily lives of the local communities. Also, there is a local acceptance that the "flocks" alluded to in the translation describe these birds.

"The Gathering" 8ft x 4ft. by Margaret Reilly
Painting, Knitting, Wire, Plywood

Also, the group were very aware that 2013 is the year of the "The Gathering ", and they wanted to work together creatively to honour the many flocks of people who had left Moynalty and it's environs, and to welcome back travellers who would make the journey back for The Gathering.
The response was heartwarming, and an eclectic and creative group of individuals met fortnightly while working towards the exhibition, which was on show for the months of June, July and August 2013.

"Bird Table" by Helen Gavigan

Themes of nesting, migration, homing, resting, inclusion, birth, death, sustenance, housing  family issues and more were engaged with and explored while using each individual’s creativity as a unique “voice”. The group decided early on that this exhibition would be non-commercial, as this would give them freedom to express themselves creatively, rather than working towards a particular criteria.

"Settled Travellers" by Heather Buchanan

As a community group, we had great fun and gained valuable experience while taking part in  these workshops and curating this show. The  whole exhibition came together through goodwill and community motivation, as the artists had no funding and worked with recyclable or found materials. It wasn't without a few teething problems !

" Nothing is as it seems"   Community

However, the momentum and excitement of having an outdoor art exhibition ( an unusual event ) won over and the show became a reality . The result was a thoughtful and sensitive outdoor show in an interesting and derelict riverside garden in the village.

"The Resting Bird" by Kevin Mc Mullan

The strength of this group exhibition was that the individual artpieces combined together to form a unified and distilled "whole".

" Herons " by Michael Reilly

Knitting, crochet, stitching, drawing, painting, woodwork, stonework, metalwork, installation, weaving, gardenwork, words and more all combined in an inspiring and integrative way. The exhibition  brought new energy and life to the village, which won the "Village" category in The Tidy Towns Competition in 2005, and is highly commended each year.

"Moynalty Duck" by Mary Kate Sheridan

The participating artists included -

Heather Buchanan, Mairead Clinton, Catherine Mc Cormack, John O Brien, Betty Smith, Margaret Reilly, Kevin Mc Mullan, Deirdre Gilsenan, Mary Sheridan, Michael Reilly, Eileen Mc Cabe, Rosita Gilsenan, Paula O Reilly, Nellie Smyth and Helen Gavigan.

"Whispers" by Helen Gavigan

  I am more convinced than ever of the role creativity can play in helping to integrate individulas and communities.
We kept an interactive and interesting facebook page throughout - 
See our facebook page - Moynalty Outdoor Art Exhibition 2013

We were delighted to be nominated for an EPIC AWARD 2014 for our efforts !  This award was open to Voluntary Community Creative not-for-profit projects across Ireland and the British Isles. We were  shortlisted for an award - the adjudicators had sorted through all the entries and we were among a group of shortlisted projects.

 Well done to all ..

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