I am delighted to serve once again as voluntary patron for the Clonakilty Organic Arts Festival. I do not underestimate the honour of such a position & I am extremely grateful for it.
As Clonakilty’s growing list of international plaudits shows, we continue to shine as an example of sustainable & progressive development for others of similar
size, not only in Ireland, but around the world. Clonakilty pushes so far above its weight that it is like a Jack Russell terrier dancing around the ring at ninety miles an hour in a bout with Katie Taylor or Muhammed Ali.
It seems natural to me then that Clonakilty should be pioneering a form of arts festival which frames the arts holistically, as one part of a greater community whole.
Such a festival is badly needed. Generally speaking, too much emphasis is put on the exceptional nature of artists. But we are no more or less special than anyone else. The plumber is as intelligent, the nurse as life-giving, the shopkeeper as fearless a truth-teller as any poet is. In fact, artists are hardly as important to human life as the nurse, the plumber, or the shopkeeper. I don’t think life would be too much affected by a strike of the poets. After all there are already plenty of great poems to go around.
But take away nurses, plumbers, or shopkeepers, for any period of time, & civilisation would soon be in trouble. Art is only made possible by the work others are doing to keep the real world going – while we dream up our latest in a leisurely state. Without the leisure time that the plumber, the nurse, the shopkeeper & all of the others are paying for, there is no art.
So it is only right, as much as it is a great honour & a pleasure, to offer the return gift of our creative work freely & in an open-hearted manner. We artists take little pieces of our heart, dress them up the way we like to, then put them out on public show for all who come along to see, to stop up & engage with, or to walk by without taking the least notice.
The best we can ever hope for is that someone will be affected deeply by our work & end up revealing some of their heart too in response. We know that we are guaranteed such open-hearted audiences in Clonakilty-Of-The-Open-Hearts.
Therefore once again, & for the third year running, we Clonakilty Artists & we artists-in-Clonakilty humbly place the produce of our deepest hearts & minds before you. We hope it affects you in some good way.
I & all involved in COAF are so much looking forward to being in the thick of the festival hubbub, in the thick of all the craic & conversation that comes into the world alongside good people enjoying good art.
Thanks to the festival organisers & all COAF’s many supporters for enabling me to remain connected in such a positive & stimulating way to my home town. I look forward to speaking alongside others on the opening night in De Barras on June 18th, & to all that great things that will follow throughout that special weekend for us all.
Clonakilty Organic Arts Festival 2017