Upstart ready to encourage creativity again

Mayo County Council's arts service is gearing up to launch the 2018 Upstart programme of arts and activities.

The programme will continue throughout the year, with the culmination of the series of events taking place on Monday, December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The council's arts service has made a considerable commitment to the development of quality arts and disability activity in Mayo through flagship projects and ongoing programmes.

Since 2010 through the Upstart programme, the arts service has provided funding for 41 collaborative projects involving arts organisations, artists, disability organisations/groups of people with disabilities.

In 2017, events took place in Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Belmullet, Castlebar, and Westport. These included collaborative projects of artists, groups of people with disabilities, and arts venues in Mayo.

Artists who have participated in the programme in the past include visual artists Caroline Masterson and Grainne O'Reilly, photographer Conor McKeown, chef Áine Macguire, stained glass artist Gabrielle Bishop, drama facilitator Danielle McDonnell, actors Kieran Coppinger and Charlene Kelly, playwright and screen writer Christian O'Reilly, director Petal Pilley, percussionist Anthony McNamee, and musician Con Murphy.

Groups who have participated in the Upstart programme included day services from Claremorris and Ballyhaunis, the Carrowbeg Artists Collective, Crann Mór Day Centre in Ballinrobe, Down Syndrome Mayo, Castlebar Rural Training Centre, and Western Care Services from Belmullet.

The venues that have hosted Upstart programmes in the past include Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet, Custom House Studios in Westport, and the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar.

The past programmes have seen a wide variety of projects undertaken, with some wonderful outcomes achieved including two visual art exhibitions, a ukulele group performance, a group drumming performance, and a film screening.

Upstart 2018 will be launched by Gaynor Seville, acting arts officer with Mayo County Council on Wednesday, April 11, at 11am in The Linenhall Arts Centre. For more information log on to


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