Ideal time for Leitrim businesses to get involved in new creative project

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Ideal time for Leitrim businesses to get involved in new  creative project

Small Sparks is new project that provides Leitrim companies with the opportunity to work with an artist for three weeks, where the artist undertakes a creative project that could have positive impacts on any number of different aspects of a business of any size, function or purpose.
The programme has been developed by Leitrim County Council’s Arts Office and Local Enterprise Office for companies that are interested in collaborating with artists, and artists that are interested in working in different environments.
There are no preconditions on what the project would consist of and there is no onus to necessarily have produced anything specific by the end of the project.
For artists, the programme provides the opportunity to undertake work that quite naturally is clearly influenced by the adopted environment, thus providing a greater interest and involvement in the work from staff and clients/customers. Working together, the project will quite often point to different, creative, and innovative paths and serve 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

COVID-19
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 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 from all over Ireland 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, for the time being, much of this year’s Small Sparks programme will be conversations that happen over zoom and ideas, images and videos that are emailed over and back between the artist and management and staff or live in a virtual shared space.
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.
Right now we’re looking for three Leitrim businesses that would like to take part this year.
The business can be a shop, a factory, an NGO or anything in between.

What businesses have said about SPARK...
‘Our company was fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Spark Programme. It was an uplifting, fun and mutually beneficial experience for everyone involved - Joseph Dolan, The Bush Hotel.
"The SPARK programme provided creative inspiration for staff, students and customers" - John Mannion, , Mohill Enterprise Centre & Mohill Computer Training
"The Involvement of the Leitrim Association of People with Disabilities in the Spark project gave us new energy and challenged us to look at what we do for members.
“It also reflected back to us the positive benefits we bring to members and the wider community." - Rosaleen Kielty, Leitrim Association of People With Disabilities.
If you manage a business in Leitrim and would like to get involved in Small Sparks, please contact the arts office and let us know before Friday March 26.
For further information, go to www.leitrimarts.ie or contact Philip Delamere at Leitrim County Council Arts Office on 071 96 21694 or email  arts@leitrimcoco.ie.
Small Sparks is a project of Leitrim County Council’s Arts Office and Local Enterprise Office and if funded by Leitrim County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.