Building peace through the arts at Carndonagh’s Colgan Hall

The committee of the Colgan Community and Resource Centre has announced they have received funding to install a public artwork in the grounds of Colgan Hall.

Artist, John O’ Connor from Waterford is the successful candidate whose design has won the commission.

The sculpture will represent unity, strength and continuity in the local community. Work on the project started at the end of March.

It will be finished for unveiling on Friday June 26th at the opening of the Colgan heritage weekend.

This project has received funding from the ‘Building Peace through the Arts - Re-imaging Communities’ programme which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the European Union’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and the International Fund for Ireland.

The programme supports arts projects that promote a shared future and build positive relations within and between communities.

The funding provided enables community groups to employ artists to work with local groups and to create vibrant and attractive public spaces through the use of creative art.

‘Gather and Celebrate Here’ was the theme within the brief from which John O’Connor drew inspiration for his design. This evolved as a result of community workshops held in the hall.

People from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds took part in discussion and art activities to tease out what the art piece should represent.

“The sculpture will be placed at the front of the hall. It will be complimented by limestone seating. The seats will be decorated/etched with images of art work done by local pupils from the CCS and the primary schools.

Marian Hennigan, chairperson of the Colgan Hall and Resource Centre, said; “Our hope is that this will be a shared community space where local people of all ages, class, creed or kind can gather together to celebrate events in their lives and that it will support our desire to cultivate and nurture a neutral shared space where differences can be left at the gate and communities and cultures can celebrate together.

She added: “News of the project has caused great excitement and anticipation within the entire community of Carndonagh.It is felt that it can only add to and cement further the communal wish for friendship and acceptance.”

Ann Ward, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said; “I am delighted for Colgan Hall and I look forward to seeing the final artwork which will be a symbol of shared space and of the connections made through the engagement process.

“The arts introduce a new dimension to the process of building reconciliation within and between communities and this project will enable artist John O Connor to work at the heart of community.”

For further information on ‘Building Peace through the Arts - Re-imaging Communities’ programme, visit www.artscouncil-ni.org.

To contact The Colgan Community and Resource Centre, visit www.colganhall.com or email colganhall1914@eircom.net. Telephone 074 9329377.