Children in a Deis school in Mayo will receive a gift package of new books by leading Irish authors, as part of an Arts Council initiative to ensure that as many people as possible can experience Culture Night - which takes place tonight September 18.
Encouraging all parents to participate with their children, the government agency for funding and developing the arts, has partnered with Children’s Books Ireland to publish a special guide to 100 of the best Irish books for children.
The Books Make Things Better reading guide will be distributed free of charge through bookshops and libraries, or can be downloaded on the Internet. Mulranny National School will benefit from the initiative.
"This is the first year that the Arts Council has taken on the stewardship of Culture Night, and it’s a year of extraordinary challenges, not least for artists and the entire arts sector,” said Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly.
"We believe passionately that the arts are for every single person in Ireland, and that is at the heart of the Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy we launched last year. That’s why we have invested in broadening and diversifying audiences and participation in Culture Night."
She added that because of the ongoing Covid-19 public health restrictions, much of Culture Night would be virtual this year, but more than 1,000 real books would nonetheless be delivered to families around the country to promote the joy of opening and reading a book.
The accompanying reading guide, with a specially commissioned illustrated cover by Oliver Jeffers, featuring the best of new Irish publications for families and young people, will also wing its ways to libraries and book shops.
The Culture Night ‘trailblazers’ this year, represent the diversity of contemporary Irish artists and include: Fehdah, Mark Smith, Michael Gallen, Matthew Gardiner, Úna-Minh Kavanagh and international trailblazer Maeve Higgins, now based in New York, who will highlight the international interest in Culture Night this year through the online aspects of the programme.
"Ireland boasts a wealth of artistic talent that, this year more than ever, we must promote and support," the Arts Council Director added.
"Our goals for Culture Night in 2020 are that it represents the vitality of art across diverse communities, that it acknowledges the value that art brings to all our lives, and its essential role in promoting wellbeing within society."