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Councillor Mary Howard presenting certificatess to artists Chime Brown, Glendree, Feakle and Teresa Davoren, Lahinch. Photograph by John Kelly

Phoenix sisters connect through art

CLARE artists with disabilities are being encouraged to speak out and express themselves using a voice of their own as part of an international competition.

Each year Phoenix Sister Cities, which includes Ennis, host a competition for artists with disabilities. The genesis of the competition is to offer recognition to artists who have gone beyond their disability and utilised their creative talents to promote global understanding of disabilities. Art and photography are submitted by local artists in Arizona and from Phoenix’s 10 sister cities around the world.

For 2015, there were a number of entries from County Clare-based artists, as Ennis is twined with Phoenix since 1988. Of these entries, four were award-winners under the theme of ‘A Voice Of Our Own!’

Local woman Theresa Davoren came in third place in her category and she was also presented with a cheque for €150. Awards were also given to Chime Browne, James Hehir and Gerard Arthur.

Councillor Mary Howard, deputy mayor of Ennis and an Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board member, presented the winners with their awards at the Temple Gate Hotel recently.

“These talented young people have brought great honour to Ennis and County Clare, they all produced wonderful art works” said Councillor Howard.

Councillor Howard also said that “special tribute must go to the work that Enable Ireland does each day in nurturing and encouraging these young people to be the best that they can be”.

Details of the seventh annual international competition for writers with disabilities for 2016 were also announced by Councillor Howard. This is a poetry competition for writers with a disability who are 19 years of age or older. Entries should be inspired by the theme of A Voice of Our Own and must be original unpublished work in English and be no more than 32 lines. The deadline for entries is May 13.

Poems may be submitted in word file format to mjtrunzo@mindspring.com.

Councillor Howard urged people in Clare to put pen to paper and enter the competition.
Last year local writer and poet, Jennifer Hynes, came in second place overall in this competition. Jennifer’s poem Everyone Needs a Helping Hand was acclaimed by the judges for its simplicity and sincerity.

Phoenix Sister Cities Ennis Committee chair, Mary Hill-Connor, who is originally from O’Connell Street, accepted the award on Ms Hynes’ behalf at a ceremony in Arizona.
TJ Waters, chairman of the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board commented, “I would encourage other to follow Jennifer’s lead and then we will be celebrating more success in future years”.

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