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Groups from Bessbrook and Camlough have been taking part in an exciting community arts initiative over recent weeks called ‘Building Peace through the Arts - Re-Imaging Communities. Bessbrook and Camlough’.

Representatives from the three schools involved with funders and organisers.
Representatives from the three schools involved with funders and organisers.

Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the European Union’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and the International Fund for Ireland, the Building Peace through the Arts – Re-Imaging Communities programme supports arts projects that promote a shared future and build positive relations within and between communities.

The funding provided enables community groups to employ artists to work with local groups and to create vibrant and attractive public spaces through the use of creative arts. Newry and Mourne District Council have been successful in phase one of this project through the Ring of Gullion AONB.

Three schools have been involved in this project; Bessbrook Primary, St Joseph’s Primary Bessbrook and St Malachy’s Primary Camlough. The students and teachers have been working with great enthusiasm developing thier skills and understanding of ‘Public Art’ and how a ‘theme’ for public art may be developed in an inclusive and creative way.

Tracey Crossan, Artist for the project said, “During our creative sessions we focused on the strong heritage of the milling industry in the area and the unique geographical aspects of Bessbrook and Camlough. We used many different artistic mediums to express the children’s ideas and it is this work that will be showcased during our exhibition as a piece of non permanent installation.”

Other groups such as the Camlough Heritage Society, the Bessbrook Heritage Society, theBessbrook Lucheon Club and Lislea Mothers and Toddlers group also shared in the opportunity of this collaborative project for the Bessbrook and Camlough area.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said; “The Arts Council is delighted to be taking the lead role in delivering this important programme which places creative regeneration at the heart of work in local community neighbourhoods. The Building Peace through the Arts – Re-Imaging Communities programme provides an invaluable opportunity for communities to promote tolerance and understanding while using the arts to find positive new ways to express identity and tradition.

“The arts introduce a new dimension to the process of building reconciliation within and between communities and this programme will enable artists, working at the heart of

communities, to make an even stronger contribution to creating a better future for everyone.”

For further information on the Ring of Gullion projects, events and lots more, visit www.ringofgullion.org or contact the AONB team on 028 308 68900.

For further information on the Building Peace through the Arts –Re-Imaging Communities programme, visit www.artscouncil-ni.org or contact the Re-Imaging team on 028 90385228.

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