There’s plenty of woodland in Longford as it is, but next summer, some of the county’s creatives will be turning Longford town into an urban forest using recycled materials to build beautiful, artistic trees.
The trees will bring a burst of colour to the town during next year’s Cruthú Arts Festival and there will be a prize of €1,000 and two runner-up prizes of €250 for the community groups that create the most original, imaginative and environmentally friendly trees.
The beautifully creative trees located throughout the town will greatly add to the festival atmosphere for the duration of Cruthú Arts Festival. It will create a talking point for people and will help to bring art out into the street and closer to people.
It will also be a tremendous advertising exercise for the participating groups and is sure to be an enjoyable bonding experience for the teams of volunteers participating.
The trees will be located a prominent strategic locations throughout the town for the week of the festival, such as the Cathedral, in front of the Temperance Hall, Centenary Square, the Market Square, on the site of the old swimming pool, at the top and bottom of Battery Road, in front of the Army Barracks and around the railway station, thus guaranteeing maximum visibility.
Longford Arts Office are looking for local groups to get involved in the making of these trees, whether it be a school or a community group. The Arts Office will then engage an artist experienced in these projects to work with the groups on a regular basis, so if you’ve never made a tree from recyclable material before, you’ll learn all you need to know.
The artists will initially visit each participating group to discuss and flesh out a basic concept. Then, once the group has the basic drawings and dimensions of their piece, they will begin to source discarded, recyclable object and begin to build their tree, with regular visits from the artist to offer guidance.
Each participating group will receive visits for representatives of the Tree Council of Ireland and other environmental agencies to talk to them about trees and related environmental issues, adding educational value to the project.
There will also be a Longford Urban Forest writing challenge, inviting local poets and prose writers to submit a piece of literature inspired by an individual tree, which will be matched to the writer via a lottery draw.
All of the trees will be then be gathered together to create a forest at the 1916 Commemorative Garden on Great Water Street for an afternoon of literature and music. Participating groups and writers will be photographed beside their respective trees and a book will be published with photographs and literature, to be launched in Autumn 2018.
So next summer, if you feel like taking a stroll through the woods, be sure to take a trip to Longford’s own Urban Forest and see the creativity the town has to offer.