Arts News

 

Take a Walk for Me project 2020-2021

Sligo County Council, through the Sligo Healthy Ireland Fund 2019-2021 has commissioned four artists; Michele Feeney, Laura GallagherSarah Sexton and Karen Webster to creatively capture Sligo walks to explore the relationship between people and their environment.

The idea around the Take a walk for Me project is to present an opportunity to support Older People’s wellbeing during the pandemic, to creatively connect with them during a time of social isolation.

This is a time when so many people are missing their favourite walks which might be just out of reach. 

The ‘Take a Walk for Me’ project aims to explore four walks (which adhere to the current level five restrictions)  

  1. Rosses Point coastal walk
  2. Glenwood Abandoned Village - A walk up into Glenwood in the Ox Mountains
  3. The Sligo Way – the Ballygawley Mountain section - from Union Wood to Lough Lumman
  4. Sligo Town to the Tobernalt Holy Well

These walks will be captured through song, visual imagery, written word and soundscape recordings whilst also investigating the history of walking and its social meaning.

A selection of the visual imagery and written word created will be presented as postcards during the Bealtaine Festival Sligo May 2021 and will be distributed widely throughout the community via Active Age groups, Walking groups, Men’s shed groups and Nursing Homes.

For the duration of the project the artists will share with the community their ongoing creative process, via social media/ local radio/local press.

 


Laura Gallagher

Sligo based artist Laura Gallagher is currently undertaking a commission by Sligo County Council Arts Service forTake a walk for me, a project funded by Healthy Ireland in 2021.  Previously selected for an Arts & Health Residency in 2020 with Sligo Arts office resulting in a 4 person show in the Hyde Bridge Gallery, Sligo.  A recipient of the Small Sparks programme facilitated by Leitrim County Council Arts Office in 2019.  Laura completed a part-time Filmmaking studies with Cinema North West 2012 resulting in her first short film Drawing from Life. Awarded a Master’s in Visual Art Practices at the I.A.D.T, Dublin 2010 and an Honours Degree in Fine Art (painting) Dublin Institute of Technology 1999.  Laura undertook a residency with artist Rebecca Fortnum as part of the TRADE Art programme facilitated by the Roscommon and Leitrim County Councils in 2007/08 while based as Artist in Residence at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim.  Was awarded a 5-month residency in 2005 by Department of Culture in Lower Austria at Kunsthalle, Krems, Austria after completing a residency in the Custom House Studios and Gallery, Mayo from 2001-2004.  A Leonardo da Vinci programme participant for three months in Finland in 2001, Laura has exhibited in many group and solo shows around Ireland andhas received numerous bursaries from Leitrim and Mayo County Councils and a travel award from the Arts Council of Ireland. Her work is represented in many public and private collections including the Office of Public Works, Fingal and Mayo County Councils and the Boyle Civic Collection.

Instagram - lauragallagherartist

https://www.facebook.com/lauragallagherartist

 

 
Light Walk - Take a Walk for Me - Laura Gallagher

 
Thinking path - Take a Walk with Me - Laura Gallagher

 
Time has lost its meaning - Take a Walk with Me - Laura Gallagher

 
Walk & Heal - Take a Walk with Me - Laura Gallagher

 
Take a Walk for Me - postcard - Laura Gallagher

 

 

SOCIAL EXPRESSION, WALKING IN MODERN DAY LIFE

Research text by artist Laura Gallagher, part of ‘The Take a Walk for Me’ project 2021 

Do we ever reflect on the act of walking and what it can mean? The act of walking can articulate political meaning and be one of the most radical things we can do. It demonstrates a power in movement. In her book Wanderlust Rebecca Solnit shares a range of interesting facts and histories relating to why we walk and what it means. She looks at walking together as a form of social expression, using it as a tool to bring about a more equal world and how collective public acts make a difference in shaping our futures.

To read more, download Laura's full research document. 

Take a Walk for Me - full research document by Laura Gallagher (PDF) - 726 kbs

 

Project walk - Rosses Point coastal walk Temporary text in the landscape  

The response when installing yesterday was very positive by passers-by.  They were curious and they started to share their own knowledge of the area and a bit about their life and how often and where they walk, particularly from the older generation.

 
Dreaming Bench 

 
Rhythm steps  

 

 
A Shared Buoy 

 


Michele Feeney

A native of Sligo, Michele Feeney is an accomplished musician and writer.

Mostly known as a singer and performer, Michele has continuously written music and songs throughout her life, and only three years ago began recording these through a residency at The Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo.  This opened up a path of writing for her that she never believed she had within and led to the publication of her book of poetry “Unsung” in 2020.

Michele is an Interfaith minister whose primary focus is on Nature and preservation of our native lands.  Connecting all forms of creativity to showcase the beauty of our county in one project is a goal that she has always had. Which Take a walk for me has more than afforded her.

As a self confessed “shutterbug”, Michele said “this project was just perfect for me, not only did it allow me to revisit a place that holds massive space in my childhood, but it allowed me to do so in such a detailed way that I felt so connected to and absorbed in the surroundings of The Holy Well Road walk.  I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity”.

www.michelefeeney.com

https://www.facebook.com/MicheleSligoweddingsinger/

https://www.instagram.com/michelefeeneysinger

 

Take a Walk for Me - Podcast by Michele Feeney - May 2021

 

Take a Walk for Me - postcard - Michele Feeney

 

 

 

Michele has been exploring The Holy Well Road in Sligo taking photos, recording sounds, writing music to convey the tranquility and imagining the stories the surroundings could tell her. 

Take a Walk for Me - Podcast by Michele Feeney

 

CALL OF THE WELL - Michele Feeney

A road most travelled for secret escape,
From inception to present day.
She calls to me on the whisper of the wind.
I am drawn to this place 

Footstep by footstep I make my way, the spring foliage wet beneath my feet.

2.5 miles from the roar of engines and the crackling of chimneys burning heat for survival. 

Freedom, Peace, Calm.
A place of magic and imagination of times gone before us,
The ghosts of stories old accompany me as the sun wraps its shade around me.
A road where visions are lustrous.
And minds are free.

 

 


Sarah Sexton 

Sarah Sexton is a visual artist living and working in Co. Sligo.  She works through the media of photography, drawing, collage and installation.

A thread that runs through Sarah's work is a fascination with disused and abandoned spaces in built and natural environments.  Sarah's photographic blog Derelict Nation ran for many years.  In recent years she began to make artistic interventions in disused spaces with her Re-imagined project.  For this, Sarah re-created the facades of disused shops.

Take a Walk for Me has marked a new direction.  For this, Sarah has used photography and drawing to document a walk into Glen Wood forest near Coolaney, Co. Sligo.  At the end of this walk lies an abandoned village, dating from pre-famine times.  While Sarah has documented all aspects of the walk, what she was most fascinated with, was how the walk physically changed over the four month duration of the project:-

"Over the course of this project, a new path was cut in to the woodland by the forestry.  I was privileged to be able to document the walk up to the abandoned village before this happened.  The path I followed was hundreds of years old.  With change comes positive things.  A new path leads up to the village, making it much more accessible, allowing more people to take this walk.  The views from this path are spectacular. I have captured my walk at a point of metamorphosis.  This whole area will become part of Coolaney Mountain Bike trails.  The walkways will remain, and the abandoned village will lie at the centre of it.  Though this walk will become busier, I have no doubt that the sense of peace found in the village will remain."

More about Sarah's artwork can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/sarahsextonart 

 

 

 

 
Take a Walk for Me - postcard - Sarah Sexton

 

Project Walk - Glenwood Abandoned Village

“I am really enjoying working on the project, and in particular making a sketchbook wall in my studio.

There have been some developments with my walk.  While Glenn Wood is open, the walk up to the abandoned village has been temporarily closed by Coillte. They are deforesting the area around the village. 

On St. Patricks Day I met a lot of people taking the walk. One man I chatted to got in touch with Coillte. They are planning to deforest around the village in a sensitive manner and preserve the buildings. This part of the walk will be open again. The village will look very different though, as it will no longer be hidden in the trees.  Originally there never were trees around it. It's interesting that I have made a photographic record of the place just before deforestation. 

The temporary closure of the abandoned village section of my walk has meant a change in focus for my work. I am now focusing more on the trees and away from the objects in the forest.”

The Take a Walk for Me project is commissioned by Sligo County Council, through the Sligo Healthy Ireland Fund 2019-2021.

  

 

 

 


Karen Webster

Karen Webster is an artist and arts facilitator/educator with a background in ceramics but now working with a wide range of different materials including oils, mixed media and alternative photographic processes.

Alongside making her own work, she has many years experience designing and delivering high quality arts experiences in a variety of settings and has worked extensively combining arts and education.  She works as a specialist for the Heritage Council's Heritage in Schools scheme, using art to develop observation skills and raise awareness of and interest in our natural heritage.

She is particularly interested in the potential for the arts in place-based learning and environmental education and has a MA(Res) investigating the role art can play in engaging children with the natural world.

In 2017 she took part in a residency in the Canary Islands using art-making as a way to discover place, which took the form of a journal, mapping her interactions with the land and she has continued to be inspired by this.

“As someone who spends much of my time outdoors walking in the hills this project was like my dream job.  I loved the idea of taking people into the world of the walk by creatively recording what I noticed in a way that would resonate and inspire a continuing love of learning.  I'm fascinated by the layers of human relationship with the land and by the plants and animals whose habitats we walk through.  For me walking is a way of reconnecting ourselves with these relationships; being in the presence of the land and paying attention to the living world around us. The way to Lough Lumman offers such a rich opportunity for this and I'd like to think that the limited edition hand-bound book I have made during this project appreciates and celebrates this very special walk.”

 

 

 

 

 

 
Take a Walk for Me - postcard - Karen Webster

 

  


  

The project is funded by Sligo County Council, through the Sligo Healthy Ireland Fund 2019-2021 and the KEEP WELL campaign.

The KEEP WELL campaign is brought to you with thanks to Healthy Ireland an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland fund and the Sláintecare fund delivered by Pobal. 



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