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Bernard Walsh, of Shannon Men's Shed, working on his painting for their forth coming exhibition Horizons which will run in Shannon Library, opening on March 28th at 6pm and running for a week as part of the Creative Places Scheme. Photograph by John Kelly

New Horizon at men’s shed

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AN art exhibition entitled Horizons, featuring work by members of Shannon Men’s Shed is going on display in the Library on this Thursday.
It is part of Creative Places Shannon, an initiative of Clare Arts Office, which saw a six week art course run with participants from the Men’s Shed.
Working under the guidance of artist David O’Rourke, the group has produced magnificent vibrant landscape paintings.
David has exhibited nationally and internationally and has also been involved in almost all aspects of art locally, from setting up artists’ collectives to working with community groups and as an educator in local schools.
Derek Clune is a member of the Men’s Shed and is one of those that has been taking the art classes over the last number of weeks.
He says that all those participating have got a lot out of it.
“It’s great for the men. There are people who would never have thought of art and wouldn’t have painted anything, but with a bit of instruction and a bit of guidance it’s amazing the talents that people have. We’re delighted with it and delighted to be partaking in it,” he said.
“I’d have done nothing [no art] since school and it wasn’t my favourite subject at school either. But this is a more informal way of doing it and it’s more enjoyable.
“It’s not a part of an exam or anything. But there is a bit more of an incentive to do the best you can when we’re putting it on display, that’s part of the enjoyment of it as well, that it will be on display. We’re all loving it.”
There are a lot of mental benefits, he feels.
“It really focuses the mind, clears your head and you just concentrate on what you’re doing. Everything else is gone out of your head. Mentally it’s a great thing to do,” he said.
“None of us are going to be making money out of it, but there’s great fun, great camaraderie and everyone is enjoying it.”
On how it came about, Derek added, “Sixteen towns around the country were picked for this Creative Places Initiative and Shannon is the Clare town picked.
“We were appointed a facilitator called Sheila Quinn and there were several meetings about what could be done to bring out the creativity that is in Shannon. All the community groups came together and put forward a list of things that they would like to see to make Shannon a more creative place, there were suggestions like singing and dancing classes and creative writing.
“A concept came up that there would be an art course for the Men’s Shed. We put that to the Men’s Shed members and around 12 were very interested in doing it. As a result of that Sheil came down and the idea of not alone having the classes, but of displaying the finished product, emerged.”
He said that some of the men will go on to do further art classes, as they have enjoyed the last number of weeks so much.
Creative Places Shannon coordinator, Sheila Quinn, expressed her delight at the work undertaken, saying, “To see the men involved identify their desire to do art classes, to grow in confidence and to create such beautiful works shows how valuable the arts are as a tool for personal and community development.”
The exhibition will be opened on Thursday, March 28, at 6pm by Cllr Donna McGettigan, Cathaoirleach of Shannon Municipal District, and will run until April 12.
Creative Places Shannon is a one-year research and development arts project in its initial phase of development. The project involves artists using socially engaged art practices to explore how community groups and individuals can develop an inclusive and sustainable arts programme for the local area.
Creative Places Shannon is supporting the community to explore and discuss creative activities that enhance community wellbeing and inclusion. It encourages community collaboration and shared environmental sustainability goals to create vibrant cultural activity in Shannon.
All are welcome to attend the official opening to view the works and to find out more about Creative Places Shannon.

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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