Cruthú Arts Festival hits the streets of Longford next week

Popular Cruthú Arts Festival to bring a creative pulse to Longford's streets for its fifth year running

Longford Leader

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Cruthú Arts Festival hits the streets of Longford next week

The launch of the Cruthú Arts Festival

Cruthú Arts Festival is a multi disciplinary festival which takes place in Longford at the end of July annually, and 2018 will see the festival celebrate it’s fifth year.

The festival has gained a reputation for its ambitious programme, which has had the impact of stimulating regeneration of urban spaces and generating dialogue about the value of public art among local citizens.

The Cruthú Arts Festival was born from the successful ‘Love Longford’ event in 2013, when a group of local artists met to establish a festival based on the ‘Pop-Up’ galleries and installations that occurred during that event.

A small committee initiated the first successful Cruthú Arts Festival in 2014 and it has steadily grown in scale and ambition each year.

Cruthú Arts Festival is the only festival of its kind in Longford and it is our mission to promote the arts through positive public engagement, inspire freedom of expression and awaken passion and curiosity for the arts by creating a positive, meaningful and fun engagement with the wider community.

Our key objectives in realising this are the development of public art programmes that actively engage citizens, performance programmes that showcase new and unusual acts and to support young people and local emerging artists through mentorship, workshops and exhibition showcases.

Cruthú organisers are committed to continually providing a broad programme of events, building on previous successes and achievements to develop our audience and encourage a greater cohort of groups to share the experience.

Through actively including local communities from various ethnic and social backgrounds, we hope to continue to broaden our audience, foster creativity at a local level, while showcasing local, national and international talent through a range of accessible and inclusive events.

Now integral to our festival, our ‘Pop Up’ galleries utilise vacant retail units throughout the town, while showcasing the work of emerging and established artists.

Permanent Street art pieces have been created each year during the festival, which add to the visual vibrancy and character of the town as well as providing an opportunity for locals to engage directly with the artists.

Workshops and talks in various media are organised and hosted each year.

Increasing numbers of participants show this form of engagement is important in bot h allowing artists to directly engage with audiences but also to allow those local audiences to experience art forms they would not ordinarily have access to.

Theatre pieces from amateurs and professionals delight increased audience numbers while spoken word events allow for participation from emerging and established writers and performers.

Music is a key element in our festival and we strive to provide a varied programme ranging from free performances in local bars and cafés to ticketed events.

The headline music act of each years festival performs in St Johns Church, creating a unique atmosphere and special audio-visual event, now renowned with the festival.

The inclusion and involvement of youth is an important part of our programming each year and we will always strive to provide an event run by and targeting youth, which in previous years has included a dedicated space, live street art, workshops and music, and was supported by local youth and community groups.

Our festival programme seeks to continually expand and develop to provide additional opportunities for artists and audience, with particular emphasis on engagement.

We seek to do so while also adding to a legacy for the area, cognisant of the past, present and possibilities for the future.

Part of the festival vision is also to address the poor reputation which has blighted Longford in the recent past and engender a greater sense of pride of place among local residents.

Our street art programme in particular addresses dereliction, regeneration and renewal.

We provide a wide range of events, crossing all disciplines and providing participation opportunities for all ages and communities.

This has proved successful in developing a positive view of the area to both visitors and the local citizens.

We are very grateful to the businesses, individuals, groups, bodies and communities whose support has been key to the festival's continued success.

We look forward to our continued engagement with all who make the festival so diverse and inclusive.

As the Cruthú Arts Festival moves forward, the organisers are committed to the continued development of our programme, our brand and our audience numbers to deliver a nationally recognised event on a par with many of the more well-established arts festivals.