Art Take Part Website Launched

One stop shop for arts participation across Northern Ireland

Interested in taking up an artistic hobby such as singing, dancing or painting? Or fancy trying your hand as a craft-maker or creative writer? But not sure where to start or who to contact

New website Art Take Part (www.arttakepart.org) is tackling just that problem by providing information on hundreds of arts groups and arts activities across Northern Ireland through an easy to use online search facility.

At the launch of the website at the Crescent Arts Centre, in Belfast, guests were encouraged to try an array of arts and crafts activities, from break-dancing to badge-making, traditional spinning to the latest craze of art-hacking.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: 'Art Take Part is an excellent initiative, helping arts and community groups to promote their activities and increase participation amongst their local community.

'The website is a particularly useful resource for young people and we are delighted that the project has received a London 2012 Inspire Mark for its important work in engaging young people with the arts.'

An initiative of Voluntary Arts Ireland and Culture Northern Ireland, Art Take Part lets web users find out what creative activities are on in their area, searchable by art form, area, and keyword. Arts and crafts groups can also upload their details to make it easier for people to find them.

David Lewis, director of Culture Northern Ireland, said: 'We are delighted to be involved in a project promoting and encouraging arts participation. Taking part in the arts brings huge benefits to people's lives, but it can sometimes be difficult finding out about arts groups and activities in your area.

'Art Take Part will give web users the information they need in an easily searchable format. Users can also keep up to date through Facebook, Twitter and signing up for regular e-newsletters.'

Kevin Murphy, Chief Officer of Voluntary Arts Ireland said: 'One of the things Art Take Part shows is that people across Northern Ireland are involved in the arts and crafts as a regular part of their lives.

'At Voluntary Arts Ireland we want to make this more visible and make it easier for people to find creative activities near where they live. We hope that the Art Take Part site will inspire more people to get involved in the arts and enjoy their creative side.'

Guests at the launch had more than fond memories and new experiences to take home with them, as they were given the opportunity to ice their own buns in artistic fashion, create personalised badges with the help of the Larne Young Arts Co-operative, and make headbands after learning a few tricks of the trade from Redhead Thread, a group that makes art of everyday rubbish.

Other groups and individuals at the launch included The Ulster Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers; Hipnotiks DC, a break-dancing group; Adam Kelly, a keen art-hacker; Pat Mulkeen, a storyteller from the Northwest of Ireland and Joanne Hanna, a skilled silversmith.

To view what creative activities are going on in your area and find out how to get involved in the arts, visit www.arttakepart.org.