Creative Spark Dundalk to helps to get Louth's artistic flair back with series of online taster courses

Patrick Flaherty

Reporter:

Patrick Flaherty

Email:

Patrick.flaherty@iconicnews.ie

Dundalk’s Creative Spark generates over €3.8 million for local economy

The centre will be providing online tasters so people can get a feel for their creative courses

One of the many things that Lockdown has left us with is excess time on our hands; with no theatres and no galleries to attend our ability to stimulate the mind has been thwarted as we do everything we can to defeat the virus by staying at home.

Many have used the extra time to catch up on the latest binge worthy series on Netflix, but others have tried to learn a new skill, with the Creative Sparks Studio in Dundalk trying to help those potential artists through their series of online classes.

Through videos they have been able to offer taster sessions, giving prospective students a chance to see what the course will be like for just €5, while also becoming a platform to see what does and doesn’t work, changing their offerings accordingly.

“With our panel of tutors, we had a little brainstorming session when we came back after Christmas” recalled their managing Director Sarah Daly.  “We just thought we should start with these half hours or 45-minute blocks and just see what people think.”

“It gives them the opportunity to tell us they didn’t like this or found that hard or they don’t have the equipment needed and so it allows us to design courses that people will be able to access and work through with confidence.”

Through the Summer, classes onsite were available but limited to just six students at a time due to social distancing requirements, but unfortunately this was only for a short period as further government restrictions again limited their ability to provide in person classes.

The longevity of the lockdowns was what kickstarted the initiative to bring the classes online and despite early teething problems, such as students needing their own materials, people have been very resourceful in making their own concoctions at home to make the classes work.

Daly believes that the courses will be more than just videos, stating an interactive element is necessary in a time where so many of us are left feeling isolated and alone.

“These tasters are videos that you can access any time once you have the passcode for them but if we do go online the idea would be that it would be live sessions, that they would be able to chat to others in the class and chat to the tutor as well.”

“I think we are a bit sick of being on our screens all alone watching content so we would very much want it to be an interactive type of session. I believe it is particularly important as we are feeling a little lonely and bored at home.”

The move to an online environment has seen the Louth creative centre engage with people from all over the country, who have taken up courses that would not be available to them if they needed to make the journey to Dundalk.

“It has been interesting that the first adult one that went out last month, illustrations with Mai Lin Chung, we had quite a few participants from all over the country, the likes of Cork, limerick and Galway who wouldn’t normally drive to Dundalk for a half day course.”

Pottery for Beginners, Rocket Painting for children and Nature Painted illustrations are just some of the tasters currently available online with more information available on the Creative Sparks website and Facebook page.