Blog

The Story So Far…

At the beginning of September 2016 more than a dozen local art practitioners and/or interested followed an open call to meet at Creative Spark to discuss possibilities of creating some sort of local platform encouraging Art as Exchange, both between local practitioners and with the wider public. Some more, who couldn’t come, declared their interest, some others joined later. Some also left, after moving elsewhere.

A key motive behind this, was the desire to establish a culture emphasizing art as communication or communication through art, which was found lacking locally. It should be an alternative or addition to art as “the production of things, to be shown and/or sold”, often in isolation. It should suggest and facilitate the production and exchange of art as something in which many can have a stake, skilled or unskilled, understanding themselves as artists or not.

Anything from just providing a regular opportunity for practitioners or interested to simply meet up and socialise, exchange experiences and ideas, to try and work together and if possible find ways of engaging the public, would have been seen as a success.

As it turned out, we quite quickly established a format of bi-weekly “gatherings”, many of which have been hands-on sessions (communal drawing, screen printing, lino-printing, sketches for installation proposals etc.), but we also worked out a Manifesto, documented what we did and now set up a web site in the wake of approaching first public engagement in the form of a postcard art project.

We try to maintain an open format, allowing members to fluctuate and join in as they see fit, while at the same time maintaining an ongoing process, communicating via mailing lists and WhatsApp.

Contact us, if you want to join in.

#GraspTheArts – Show Your Hand

AAEX is delighted to support https://www.graspthearts.com, a campaign of solidarity with the Irish Cultural Sector during the COVID 19 crisis, initiated by AAEX member Niamh O’Connor.

In response to the recent debate about insufficient funding for the arts sector, artists, writers, performers, administrators, invigilators, frame makers etc., in short anybody contributing and being part of the cultural sector is asked to cast their grasp in clay, salt dough, paper pulp or similar, add a label with their name, profession, location and comment and then post a photo on social media with the following hash tags:
#graspthearts #showofhandsIRE #mycontributinghand #cultureworks #weareirishculture

Keep your cast for a physical display yet to be developed, once it is safe again to do so.

For full details and instructions, including salt dough and paper pulp recipes visit https://www.graspthearts.com

AAEX Installations (Dundalk)

Two Weeks of Art Installations in Dundalk

15 – 29 November – 41-42 Clanbrassil Street

Long Walk Shopping Centre – The Demesne – County Museum – Train Station  / Park Street

AAEX_Installations_Map

AAEX (Art as Exchange) is a dedicated group of over 30 local artists, who over the last 3 years have provided a variety of local arts initiatives.

From 15th -29th November 2019 AAEX will be showing visual art installations in a central exhibition space at 41-42 Clanbrassil Street and selected locations in Dundalk.

20 AAEX artists have created a wide variety of art works including video installations, sculptures, tree wrappings, projections, hangings in public spaces and performative interactions.

Exhibiting artists: Anna Marie Savage, Bernhard Gaul, Caoimhe O’Dwyer, Caroline Duffy, Ciara Agnew, Geraldine Martin, Grainne Murphy, Heather Cassidy, James McLoughlin, Jebun Nahar, Jenny Slater, John Moloney, Michael Stafford, Niamh Gillespie, Niamh O’Connor, Omin, Petra Berntsson, Samantha Brown, Susan Farrelly, Úna Curley.

Curatorial Support: Anne Mager / the corridor

Open daily 12 – 5 pm (except Sunday 17th November)

Opening reception:

Friday 15th November 7 pm. All welcome.

Other events:

WHERE IS THE ART IN DUNDALK? – 23rd November 5 pm
Panel discussion  hosted by the corridor

What are the working conditions for artists and creatives in County Louth and why are there not more opportunities and experimental spaces for visual artists in Dundalk to present their work? Which ways of collaborations and partnerships can lead to a vital and versatile arts scene? Together with artists and business owners from Dundalk, we want to discuss the infrastructure, needs and challenges for artists in the region.

Participants:
Tom Muckian, Roe River Books
Paraic Mc Quaid, visual artist and lecturer
Úna Curley, visual artist and AAEX member
Moderation: Anne Mager & Marcel Krueger, thecorridor.ie

Followed by:

Brochure Presentation // Meet the Artists – 23rd November 6 pm

The exhibition is supported by Dundalk BIDS, Creative Spark, the Dundalk Credit Union, the Local Enterprise Office Louth and Ronan Halpin. AAEX would like to thank the various locations for letting them put up artworks.

Exhibition Video

Video

Floor Plan / MapDownload as PDF

floor plan_map

Supported by

Creative_Spark_Logo         BIDS

    DCU_master logo

LEO_master_LS_Pos Ronan Halpin

 

First Fortnight 2020: I Am What I Am

On 15th January 2020, Creative Spark, hosted its fourth free First Fortnight event in association with Inspire Wellbeing, Belfast, again inviting everyone to bring their art and creativity out of the home or studio and into the community.

Alongside a musical warm up by Dundalk based singer and artist Sophie Coyle and music and writing presented by Inspire Wellbeing, AAEX members provided participatory visual arts activities and presentations.

  • Sew Happy – creative stitching (Úna Curley)
  • Sweet wrapper collage (Ciara Agnew)
  • Mono-printing (James McLoughlin)
  • Blind drawing (Bernhard Gaul, using postcards by John Moloney)
  • Meet the artist presentation (Claire Conway)

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. It aims to make the First Fortnight of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

 

AAEX – Installations on the Beach

On Saturday, 22nd June 2019, AAEX members, joined by families and friends, met up at Dunany Beach to avail of the free outdoor exhibition space and make some temporary landscape installations from found materials or items they brought with them (everything brought to the beach was taken away again!)

Participating AAEX members: Heather Cassidy, Caroline Duffy, Bernhard Gaul, Niamh Gillespie, Marie Kelly, Caoimhe McCarthy, Jebun Nahar, Michael Staffordand Drogheda based artist John Moloney.

 

Live Motion Drawing

On 18th December 2018 AAEX Member Orlaith Culinane organised a live notion drawing session with local dancer Fiona Keenan O’Brian for us as a rare Pre-Xmas treat for the group.

We spent the afternoon at the Long Walk Community Rooms, with Fiona performing for two solid and very intensive dance/drawing sessions. Some photos and resulting art works below.

Fiona is a member of Qintessence Theatre Company
Music: Mikronesia – Landscapes 3: Iceland

Drogheda Arts Festival 2019

AAEX will be present at the Drogheda Arts Festival again. This year we teamed up with Creative Spark to set up a pop-up print studio and lantern making factory as part of Roll Up Roll Up at St. Dominic’s Park.

Try mono printing, screen printing, using lino cuts and other techniques, like drawing, watercolours, calligraphy or collages to assemble your own lantern made from recycled materials.

DATE: MONDAY 6 MAY VENUE: ST DOMINIC’S PARK, RATHMULLAN RD
TIME: 1:00 – 5:00PM TICKETS: FREE
PARKING & ACCESS: NO PARKING IN THE VICINITY OF RATHMULLAN RD. USE TOWN CAR PARKS.

FURTHER INFORMATION: WWW.DROGHEDAARTSFESTIVAL.IE TEL: 041 9833946

First Fortnight 2019 – Inside Out Again

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. It aims to make the first fortnight of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

On 17th January 2019, Creative Spark, in association with Inspire Wellbeing, hosted their third annual First Fortnight event, Inside Out – Again, challenging mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. The free event provided an opportunity to bring the artist inside out, inviting everyone to bring their art and creativity out of the home or studio and into the community.

Among the 30 or so contributions by poets, singers, performers, a nutritionist and various others were again several provided by AAEX members:

  • Sew Happy: a perpetual participatory stitching project (Úna Curley)
  • Flower painting with textile designer Caroline Duffy
  • Participatory mono printing workshop (Bernhard Gaul)
  • Nonsensical Board Game – a game that challenges you to come up with the rules (Susan Farrelly)
  • Voice performance (Ali Warner)
  • Meet the artist presentation: Photography and Cyanotype (Samantha Brown)
  • Meet the artist presentation: Art Therapy (Jenny Slater)

Hands-on and Other Gatherings

AAEX members meet more or less regularly every 2 weeks. The usual meeting date is Wednesday, 7pm, but we are flexible when needed and recently started adding morning gatherings, which are better suited for some members.

Gatherings are sometimes of a social nature or we meet for exhibition openings, often for our own members or other local artists, but mostly we meet in the Creative Spark print studio to “get our hands dirty”.

Hands-on gatherings are often of a skills-exchange nature, with somebody hosting a demonstration or workshop. But at times we also meet to produce something together, or even just bring in our own projects and work alongside each other.

Activities so far included (amongst others):

  • Collaborative drawing
  • Paper-cut screen printing
  • Screen printing using acetates and hand drawn designs
  • Lino cuts
  • Mono printing
  • Stencil cutting for spray painting
  • Digital design: vector graphics, Photoshop, colour separations,…
  • Wood cuts
  • Photo polymer etching
  • Postcard printing
  • Making artist books
  • Large scratch card preparations
  • Collages
  • Zine making

AAEX on the Radio

Following up on our very successful exhibition at the Long Walk Shopping Centre in May 2018, Dundalk FM invited AAEX artists for individual interviews about their approaches, history, upcoming events etc.

The radio station also provided podcasts of the interviews and kindly allowed us to publish them here. Enjoy.

Podcasts

Bernhard Gaul, 31st May 2018

Susan Farrelly, 6th June 2018

Úna Curley, 8th June 2018

Niamh Gillespie, 25th June 2018

Caoimhe McCarthy, 28th June 2018

James Mc Loughlin, 29th June 2018