FIVE Ennis teenagers have got making European connections down to a fine art. Alysha Casey Hanrahan, Mahia Rahman, Gabrielle Cullinan, Eimear Fitzgerald and Cameron O’Grady have travelled to Germany for an international meeting of young people at Ennis’ twin town of Langenfeld.
The teens are taking part in a ‘youth art camp’ in the town, located between Cologne and Dusseldorf, where they are meeting other art lovers from Langenfeld and its other European twin communities.
Here at home, the Ennis youngsters brush up their artistic skills with tutor and Ennis Langenfeld Twinning Committee member Carmel Doherty, and they were delighted to have the opportunity to visit Germany. In Germany they are learning from local artists as part of the week long initiative, and their resulting works will be exhibited at the Kunstverein gallery in Langenfeld.
Ennis has been twinned with Langenfeld since 2013 with a twinning a formal arrangement formed with the old Ennis Town Council. This art week is the first cultural exchange programme organised with the Ennis Langenfeld Twinning Committee since Covid, and according to Councillor Mary Howard of the committee there are many more planned for the future.
Young people interested in art from Langenfeld’s four twin towns of Ennis, Gostynin in Poland, Montale in Italy and Senlis in France were invited to take part in the youth art camp.
The event is based on the idea that ‘Art connects’ and young people from Langenfeld and its four partner twin towns were offered an opportunity to take part in workshops led by artists alongside other activities.
Councillor Howard tells us, “Ennis has been twinned with Langenfeld for over nine years, we celebrate our ten year anniversary next year, and this is just one of the many collaborations we have had between both communities.
“We continue to increase and broaden these initiatives and this has been a really positive relationship. We are expecting visitors from Langenfeld to Ennis in August which we are really looking forward to.
“This has been our first initiative in a post Covid world and we are now looking at further events involving other groups such as scouts, sporting groups and students.”
Beate Domdey-Fehlau, Managing Director and curator of the Kunstverein said, “Following the successful Children’s Art Weeks that the Kunstverein has been offering for over ten years, we are pleased to be able to offer an international art week for young people for the first time.”
For the twinning committee in Langenfeld, the desire to reactivate town twinning in the youth sector has come true. “Unlike in schools or sports, young people come together here on a very individual basis and according to their interests,” says Dr Gabriele Pfläging from the partnership committee.
“We hope for a revitalization of the partnership, also in schools again.”
Ahead of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the formal twinning of the county capital with Lagenfeld Councillor Howard has called on the Ennis Municipal District to acknowledge the arrangement with signs on the approach roads to Ennis.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the local authority she said, “Ennis and Langenfeld in Germany celebrate 10 years of a formal twinning relationship next March. We are expecting delegations over the coming months and I request that the Twinning of Ennis with Langenfeld be acknowledged on the signposts on the approach roads to Ennis,” she said.
Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer, told the meeting that the Ennis Municipal District is reviewing the existing twinning signage on the approach roads to Ennis to determine the appropriate approach to be taken in regard to Ennis Twinning signs with Phoenix, Saint-Paul de Fenouillet and Langenfeld. Funding for any additional signage will be sought from the Twinning Committee or alternative sources.
Councillor Ann Norton voiced her support for the motion stressing the importance of acknowledging twinning arrangements.