Children and young people in schools across Galway are enjoying the benefits of being at the centre of the Creative Schools initiative and there is still time to apply for this year's programme!
Designed to provide opportunities for children and young people to build their artistic and creative skills, each school taking part in Creative Schools receives a grant and works with a Creative Associate. These associates use their practical experience in supporting the school and the children to develop and implement their own Creative School Plan. The Arts Council recently announced extra funding for creativity in schools and schools across Galway are being invited to apply to be part of this initiative.
Here in Galway, one of the Creative Associates involved is Joanna McGlynn (picture in the cover photo). Originally from Donegal, Joanna has been working in the Galway Arts community for over 10 years and is now pleased to call Ballyglunin, Tuam, Co. Galway her forever home, after moving there in 2017. A visual artist, Joanna has been working with Creative Schools since it began in 2018. She works with participating schools in Galway, helping them to connect to the full range of local and regional cultural resources and opportunities.
Speaking of her work with Creative Schools, Joanna recalls a moving moment with students in Coláiste Mhuire, Ballygar; “There’s magic to be found in the quieter, smaller moments of a school's creative journey. Very often these moments happen upon you, when you least expect it. It’s a student sharing their personal experience of the programme, it’s the learning that happened through the process, it’s a conversation you overheard in passing in a hallway. It is the potential for art and creativity to ‘stir’ you, beyond the lifetime of an activity or project. I experienced many of these moments when working with Coláiste Mhuire, Ballygar. In support of Wellness Week in February 2020, artist Jennifer Cunningham lent two of her paintings to the school. The paintings were the focus of a workshop exploring feeling through viewing an artwork with first years. Students responded through a mark making exercise, in turn expressing their own feelings through creative engagement, immersed in the moment while doing so. The response was profound with students generously sharing their own emotions and empathising with the experiences of others, facilitating a conversation around emotional wellbeing in the school community through art.”
Applications are now open for the next phase of Creative Schools, as new schools in Galway and from right across Ireland can now apply to join the initiative from September 2021. This is an exciting opportunity for schools to access funding and expertise which will enable them to explore the potential impact of the arts and creativity on school life particularly as they address the impact of the last year on children and young people’s lives.
Over 460 schools have already benefited from participation in this initiative including primary, post-primary, DEIS, Irish-language medium, Special schools and Youthreach centres. Participating schools will also receive a grant of €4,000 and training for teachers.
Local schools should log onto www.artscouncil.ie/creative-schools/ today to find out how to register and apply. The final deadline is 17:30, Thursday 10 June 2021.
Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Government’s Creative Ireland Programme, putting the arts and creativity at the heart of children and young people’s lives. The initiative is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.