29 Sept 2022

Dundalk's AAEX set to hold art in the park festival later this month

Art in the park for AAEX's fifth anniversary

Heather Cassidy and Omin working on the AAEX Mural 2017

AAEX (Art as Exchange) will celebrate their fifth anniversary in a three-day art event at St. Helena Park from the 17th to 19th of September.

The much-loved AAEX Flamingo will make an appearance again alongside the AAEX Block Puzzle, featured at the recent SEEK festival.

There will be an interactive installation at the park, supported by Creative Ireland, highlighting language and cultural diversity within the group and among the visitors, as well as a variety of art installations, workshops and demonstrations for all ages, many focusing on making art from found objects or re-used materials. And the Creative Spark Print Studio will be there with their new mobile pop-up print studio, the Pedal Press.

The event will kick off on Friday 17th September, Culture Night, with a performance of poetry, prose and song alongside an exhibition of artworks, presenting the outcome of a recent collaboration with the Monaghan Poets and Songwriters Group (MOPOSOGS) in which AAEX artists responded to texts by the writers and vice versa.

All activities are free, but numbers are restricted, and booking is required for workshops and events. For full details see artinthepark

AAEX, supported by Creative Spark, was founded in September 2016 with a call out to find local artists interested in forming a platform for collaboration and engaged public art with a community focus.

“To begin with we would have been very happy, just to find likeminded people to meet up with socially, exchange ideas and maybe do something practical together every now and then”, says initiator and chair of AAEX, Bernhard Gaul, “but straight away we had 13 members who wanted to meet and work together in a quite committed and regular fashion. "By now we have 40 members and have provided many internal and public arts projects, with highlights being the creation of a large scale collaborative mural off Park Street and a postcard project engaging over 300 participants in 2017.

"Also our first group exhibition at the Long Walk Shopping Centre in 2018, workshop programs with the Toberona Youth Club, the Mother and Toddler Group at the Craobh Rua Community House (Youth Work Ireland) and the Deehub Youth Centre in Ardee, participations at the Drogheda Arts Festival, a large scale exhibition of art installations at locations throughout Dundalk in 2019, as well as the AAEX Flamingo and Box Puzzle at the recent SEEK Festivals.

"There is a lot to celebrate. We are looking forward to share this celebration with the public at St. Helena Park and are delighted to have received support for this by Create Louth and the Dundalk Credit Union.

Co-founder and AAEX member Úna Curley said: “It is very fitting that our five-year celebration should take place in the park.

“My own arts practice and other members’ uses natural materials or is inspired by nature. "We are all striving to be more sustainable and have been pressing for a public participatory event that explores not only natural materials but also found objects and discarded materials for quite some time.

"There is a big focus on process art and the act of making which stimulates creativity and spontaneity.

"We were very close to realising this last year, but then had to postpone due to COVID. "That the event now coincides with our five-year anniversary and reopening after COVID is an added bonus.

"We are really looking forward to it and hope many will come to enjoy it with us.”

Participating artists: Aileen Durkan, Ann Marie Savage, Bernhard Gaul, Caoimhe O’Dwyer, Caroline Duffy, Catherine McCourt, Ciara Agnew, Claire McAteer, Elina Kodolina, Geraldine Martin, Grainne Murphy, Heather Cassidy, Ilona Cigirova, Jean Marshall, Jebun Nahar, Jenny Slater, John Moloney, Julie Corcoran, Mariana Clemente, Michael Stafford, Niamh O’Connor, Omin, Petra Berntsson, Samantha Brown, Sinead McCourt, Susan Farrelly, Tracy Fry and Úna Curley as well as MOPOSOGS members Andy Hogg, Angela McCrossan, Ciarán Redmond, Dara MacGabhann, Denis O' Higgins, Dez Murphy, Enda Reilly, John Nutley, Josephine Higgins, Miffy Hoad, Packie McDonald, Roseanna Myles, Seán Fegan, Seán Ó Roideáin and Seán O'Martin.

All activities are free, but numbers are restricted, and booking is required for workshops and events.see artinthepark

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