A vibrant buzz filled Creggan’s Ráth Mór Centre on Friday past as its stunning new digital arts studio was officially opened for business - ensuring the people of Creggan will benefit from greater access to the arts.
As is fitting for a designated City of Culture, acclaimed local musicians Bronagh Gallagher and Paul Casey performed in Ráth Mór’s main foyer, welcoming the many invited guests to this prestigious occasion and showing visitors just how talented Derry can be.
The studio space itself was launched by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland on his first visit to the area. Hailing the project as “excellent, remarkable and innovative”, Mr McCausland gave a warm and amusing speech welcoming the new studio space.
Mr McCausland said the new studio would “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.”
The launch was hosted by Paul McFadden and Derry’s Mayor, Colr Kevin Campbell also spoke during proceedings.
“Today we have another reason to be proud,” Colr Campbell said.
“Aspiring digital artists, traditional artists, creative writers, amateur photographers, those interested in video technology or becoming professional writers, journalists, publishers, graphic designers, musicians, web developers, app developers, games designers, musicians, students and digital entrepreneurs – all will be welcome here,” the Mayor added.
In an effort to maximise the opportunities of the City of Culture year, Creggan Enterprises and Guildhall Press 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.
“The new Digital Art Studio – with its state-of-the-art,cutting-edge, multi-media facilities – is the jewel in the crown at Ráth Mór,” according to the Ráth Mór Centre’s Development Executive, Conal McFeely.
“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,” he added.