Rural Arts Networks is co-ordinated by Conor O’Leary and seeks to address the cultural exclusion experienced by many communities when it comes to accessing arts and culture.
This is achieved by training and empowering local volunteers from a number of communities to select and host a range of arts and cultural events. These events are then held in locally available community venues including halls, schools, churches, libraries, function rooms, etc. As a result, since 2002, over 150 events have been organised by these volunteers in Wicklow, Laois, Kerry, Clare and Tipperary.
Empowering local communities to start taking control of their own cultural environment is at the heart of the Rural Arts Network model, thus enhancing the quality of life, promoting a sense of place and fostering a shared sense of community and cultural development. Over the next two years, Conor hopes to set up new arts networks, to provide a support structure for existing networks and to explore their potential to further transform the cultural landscape of their communities.
I came to believe that we were all entitled to dance, to sing, to wonder, to listen, to read, to learn, to watch and to celebrate every kind of arts and culture in our own place and time.