Newry plays part in Olympics art project

Declan McAteer Posted by
Monday, December 19th, 2011

The Sean Hollywood Arts Centre in Newry was last week the scene of a donation drive for Northern Ireland’s Cultural Olympiad Arts Project (NEST). Local residents joined members of the SELB Youth Orchestra, Abbey Grammar School and Mayor Charlie Casey in donating their objects to become part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Celebrations, which is set to be one of the biggest public art projects ever in Northern Ireland.

Funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, NEST is part of the London 2012 Festival and the Artists Taking The Lead programme that aims to put art and culture at the heart of the 2012 Olympic Celebrations.

Brian Irvine and John McIduff, both from County Down are award winning artists, who with the help of volunteers, are visiting towns and villages across Northern Ireland collecting thousands of donated objects that are going to become part of a large scale visual arts installation which will be part of a performance event next July. The performance event will also involve the Ulster Youth Orchestra as well as at least 500 singers.

Speaking about the donations, the artists said, “The objects reveal so much of the personality and emotional currency of Northern Irish people and the diversity is really extraordinary – not only in the range of objects being donated, but in the words and images chosen to accompany them. NEST is like a ‘weird census’ of the people of Northern Ireland in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics and we want everyone to have the chance to be part of this historic collection and project.”

Speaking about the project, Mayor Charlie Casey encouraged people and organisations in the Newry and Mourne area to make their mark on the project, “I’m especially glad that the people of Newry and and Mourne are being given this opportunity to get involved in such a major arts project. By donating an object and attaching their personal label, they become part of an historic national event and celebration. Seeing all the objects in one place next July 2012 is going to be a very powerful experience, and extra special by having our local citizens involved”.

If your group would like to make donations, or your choir would like to be involved in the final performance, then contact the NEST coordinator Alasdair Campbell on 07939607934 or email

For more information on Campaigns, or to view some of the objects already donated visit

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