Creggan’s stunning new digital arts studio was officially opened by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland on Friday afternoon at the Ráth Mór Centre, ensuring the people of Creggan will benefit from greater access to the arts.
Hailing the project as “excellent, remarkable and innovative”, Mr McCausland gave a warm and amusing speech welcoming the new studio space.
The project, which is being led by Creggan Enterprises, was made possible through funding and a distinct vision. In an effort to maximise the opportunities of the City of Culture year, Creggan Enterprises and Guildhall Press have collaborated on the Access Arts Initiative, which brings cutting edge technology into the heart of Creggan and gives local people the chance to sharpen their technological skills.
The Digital Art Studio – which has been funded by the Department for Social Development and supported by ILEX, Arts Council NI and Culture Company 2013 – will allow the community to contribute to and enjoy City of Culture events.
Ráth Mór now boasts a state-of-the-art studio with cutting-edge, multi-media facilities. The hub provides workshop/training facilities, centre-wide WIFI, video-conferencing and projection facilities, and associated digital photography studio space.
Speaking at the opening of the new facility in Creggan today, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: “The Northern Ireland Executive’s UK City of Culture 2013 funding through DSD has enabled the set up of the Creggan Enterprises digital media arts studio and equipment. It will allow the local community to develop their creativity and provide opportunities for artists to demonstrate their skills. It will also create a space for the community to participate in a range of arts events during 2013 and beyond.”
Ilex’s Cultural Broker, Caoimhin Corrigan, who also attended the launch, said: “This studio, based in the heart of Creggan, will provide a safe, accessible space for people in the community to enjoy, create and participate in cultural events throughout 2013 and beyond. ”.
Ráth Mór Centre Development Executive, Conal McFeely, said: “The new Digital Art Studio with its state-of-the-art, cutting-edge, multimedia facilities is the jewel in the crown at Ráth Mór and we are delighted that the Minister has come to Creggan to attend its launch in person.
“Older local residents, especially those who remember the despair caused by the closure of the BSR factory, will find it hard to believe that the site is now the home of a modern digital hub and a possible source of new jobs in a creative industry.
“Creggan Enterprises was set up to address the causes and effects of social and economic disadvantage and exclusion through a process of community renewal and revival. The new Digital Arts Studio, which we have developed jointly with Guildhall Press, is consistent with that goal. It brings Ráth Mór into the digital age, and will help the local community to showcase their talents to the world.
“As a community-owned social enterprise, we will continue to channel all surpluses to meet the economic, social, environmental and cultural needs of our area.
“Creggan Enterprises wish to thank the Northern Ireland Executive for funding this project through the Department for Social Development. We are grateful too, for the support of Ilex, Arts Council NI and Culture Company 2013. We are, of course, especially grateful to the tenants of Ráth Mór, the businesses and community organisations who, between them, employ some 300 people.”