Weekly round-up: 27 April 2011

Though I’ve been occupied stuffing myself with Easter chocolate, basking in the spring sunshine, and feeling the glow of two long weekends with a royal wedding sandwiched in the middle, it’s time for another round-up…

Jazz-heads are gearing up for a few weeks of delectable treats — Improvised Music Company’s 12 Points! European Jazz festival begins at Project Arts Centre on 4th of May, while the long-running Bray Jazz Festival is this weekend! Lots of chatter meanwhile on Jim Carroll’s recent blogpost on issues surrounding jazz promotion & attendance in Ireland, followed by an article in today’s IT by Laurence Mackin on the changing face of contemporary jazz. Some of the best gigs I’ve been to in Ireland have been jazz — Tomasz Stanko, EST, Bobo Stenson, and Marcin Wasilewski are a few that spring to mind —  and according to my extra-jazzy husband (who co-presents Jazz-o-rama on Dublin City FM), Phronesis is the hot ticket at 12 Points this year.

Mindfield (the ‘international festival of ideas’) begins this Friday in Merrion Square and runs through Sunday. Though to my mind a leetle on the pricey side (69 yo-yos for a full festival pass, or a tenner for each event) there are quite a few free workshops & family events. I’m a fan of the quick-fire Ignite concept of 10 speakers + 20 slides + 5 minutes, but there’s a whole range of interesting talks and hands-on events throughout the weekend.

Seriously digging the idea of Druid staging The Cripple of Inishman on, well, Inis Meáin. Locals have first dibs on tickets for the 26 July performance (sales opened yesterday to Aran Islands residents), with the remainder going on sale to the public on 23 May.

Yesterday’s Irish Times carried a special supplement featuring the programme for the Bealtaine Festival (‘Celebrating Creativity in Older Age’) which begins this Sunday. They’re also currently recruiting for Cultural Companions, a programme which matches seniors with folks interested in accompanying them to cultural events (applications are being accepted for North Dublin and Cork).

On the other end of the age spectrum, Sheila Wayman in the IT wrote yesterday about involving children in arts activities from an early age, citing the importance of introducing them to arts experiences outside of school structure. As the mama to a 18 month old little guy, I found the list of available activities very useful — with the baby boom in Ireland still in full flush, young families will be an important market & audience for arts organisations for some time…

I’ll be popping in to the Science Gallery’s new exhibition HUMAN+ tomorrow — Director Michael John Gorman recently penned a piece on the Guardian’s Science blog about the show that’s sold it to me!

The Galway City Museum is set to be re-furbished; it will be closed until early June to facilitate work, presumably in time for the Galway Arts Festival in July!

A quirky news item in the Independent last week noted that several roadside public sculptures from Kildare and Kerry have been stolen (presumably melted down for scrap). Obviously this is a distressing issue for the county councils and artists involved — though I must admit given the state of some of our public sculptures, these thieves might be doing us a roundabout favour (pun intended).

Temple Bar Cultural Trust is calling for interested participants for Culture Night 2011; deadline for expressions of interest is the 27th of May.

In an expected but warmly welcomed move, Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan issued a call for interested applicants to apply for board positions at the National Concert Hall, IMMA, Irish Architectural Archive, Arts Council, and Heritage Council. This is part of efforts by the Department to increase transparency as regards governance and recruitment, and to avoid the sinkhole of political appointee-ism that’s plagued some of our cultural institutions. There’s no guarantee appointees will be drawn from this open application process, nonetheless it’s a great step in the right direction. Applications are due May 13th, so get cracking!

The Fundit website’s done extraordinarily well in its first month, raising about 40k! Quite a number of projects have reached their funding targets — but I’d love to see the Irish/Polish Film Project and the Open House Dublin Book Project make it over the line (their funding target has to be met for them to receive any moola) — have a look & consider sending a few euro their way??

The worst news of the past 2 weeks? The closure of the Lighthouse Cinema, after the failure to reach an agreement with the current landlords and the appeal for mediation rejected. I still have difficulty believing there’s no alternative in this case; it makes me physically sick to think of that wonderful facility lying empty. Will this be the final death knell for the Smithfield redevelopment dream?