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Call for Artists for Small Sparks

Small Sparks is new project for Leitrim businesses of any size and function to work with an artist for three weeks. There are no preconditions on what the artist (who may be from any arts discipline) might do, and it is not obligatory to have produced anything by the end of the project – although a materials budget is available if required.

The programme is a further development of Spark, a 6-month artist-in-residence programme developed by Leitrim County Council’s Arts Office and Local Enterprise Office for companies that are interested in collaborating with artists and promoting creativity within their organisation and artists that are interested in working in different environments.

Small Sparks provides three companies that wouldn’t normally work with artists with the opportunity to dip their toe in the water, explore the opportunity, and to see what can be gained from doing so.

For artists, both Spark and Small Sparks provide the opportunity undertake work inspired by the company. Quite naturally, what an artist does will be clearly influenced by the adopted environment, thus providing a greater interest and involvement in the work from staff and clients/customers, pointing to different, creative and innovative paths and serving as a catalyst for new thinking.

While the residency lasts for three weeks, this can be taken in one block or spread over a number of months as agreed between the artist and company.


Rather than postponing or cancelling Small Sparks because of Covid-19, we believe there is there is an even greater imperative to look at things differently now and to see how the very real and pressing current challenges might be opportunities to think about new ideas. In that context Small Sparks looks to match companies in Leitrim with highly skilled artists that have a keen interest in what a particular company does, the people who work there, and the public they serve.

Throughout the pandemic artists have come to the fore providing local and national projects and programmes that brought individuals and whole communities together to celebrate, to remember, to hope, and ultimately to connect or reconnect with one another. One of the reasons for this is that the arts are ultimately about communication. Artists interpret and assimilate complex ideas and employ a deep well of skill and experience to explore them in unique ways – skills have proven to be exceptionally valuable these last 12 months.

From a practical perspective, much of this year’s Small Sparks programme will be conversations that happen over zoom and ideas and images that are emailed over and back between the artist and management and staff. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, this will start to include some level of more conventional contact, but it’s not essential, and if necessary, the entire programme could be conducted under the current restrictions.



Bee Park Community Centre, Manorhamilton

The Bee Park Resource Centre in the centre of Manorhamilton offers an excellent environment from which a number of service providers in the areas of Youth, Sport, Disability, Childcare Education, Women, and Men’s Groups work. Our tenants include: National Learning Network; North Leitrim Women’s Centre; North Leitrim Men’s Group; Northwest S.T.O.P; Mayo Sligo Leitrim ETB; Manor Childcare Services; Sean Mc Dermott Boxing Club; and Pulp Friction Gym.The Centre provides Manorhamilton and North Leitrim in general with an integrated focus for Community services and facilities. It is the home for a variety of organisations their staff and Clients offering an excellent environment from which these needs are met.

The Rainbow Ballroom or Romance

The Rainbow Ballroom or Romance is situated in Glenfarne, County Leitrim. The Ballroom was built in 1934 by John McGivern on his return from the USA to his native Leitrim. It was known as McGivern’s Dance Hall, although locally it was referred to as the “Nissan Hut”, as its galvanised iron construction was reminiscent of the British Army huts of the same name. The dancehall was a popular venue for showbands for many years and today the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance still hosts regular concerts and dances. It is also home to a showband memorabilia exhibition, provides hotdesk facilities and caters for a variety of events including weddings. More recently, the development of a virtual reality project provides visitors with a unique experience of a 1950s dancehall.

Rainbow Candles

Rainbow Candles was founded in 1985 by Pete Kern on an old kitchen-table in a farmhouse just outside the picturesque village of Dromahair in Co. Leitrim. After supplying coloured candles to a few shops in the area, the demand for coloured and scented candles grew. The living-room became a workshop with the support of Leitrim Enterprise Office. By 1989 Rainbow Candles was selling nationwide and internationally shortly after. The range of candles included pure beeswax, scented candles in Irish made pottery, pillar, dinner and rainbow-coloured candles, candles in glass such as the Irish Coffee and Guinness. By 1995 Rainbow Candles was employing three people and Pete Kern admitted as a member of the Irish Guild of Master Craftsmen.



Applicants can be from any arts discipline. While some companies may appear suited to one or other artform, neither the arts office nor the companies have any preconceived ideas on what a project might look like or what approach any artist might propose, and as such are entirely open to all artists and ideas.



Artists wishing to apply for Small Sparks should email Leitrim County Council Arts Office to declare their interest in the programme. Artists who have declared their interest are invited to an on-line site visit where they will have the opportunity to meet with the arts office, management and staff at the three companies, leading to a better understanding of the programme and the company involved. While attendance at the site visit is not essential to make an application, it is strongly advised that applicants do so.

Expressions of interest to email: before midnight on Friday 28th May 2021.


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