An EPIC art and craft party

Daphne Gallick and Elizabeth Fielding, of the volunteer flower arrangers at St. Columb's Cathedral, gave a demonstration of their work during the Epic Awards Showcase in the Verbal Arts Centre. INLS0613-160KM

Daphne Gallick and Elizabeth Fielding, of the volunteer flower arrangers at St. Columb's Cathedral, gave a demonstration of their work during the Epic Awards Showcase in the Verbal Arts Centre. INLS0613-160KM

The Government Culture Ministers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were unanimous in their praise on Thursday for the contribution the voluntary arts made to society.

They also heaped praise on the team behinid the Fermanagh St Patrick’s Day Festival, who were the winners of the 2013 Ireland Epic Awards winners, which were held at the Verbal Arts Centre

The Epic Awards reception is an annual celebration of all that is best about amateur arts and crafts. The fun began with an Epic Party in the afternoon with local groups putting on special workshops, displays and performances. Then the winners received their prizes and accolades at an evening ceremony.

The awards showcase the very best of the amateur arts and crafts across the UK and Ireland and the award ceremony didn’t disappoint with fantastic performances from City of Derry Guitar Festival and Taiko Drumming, as well as some beautiful handmade bunting on show from Scottish winners Barra Bunting, and even a surprise appearance from the Newcastle Arts Festival Yarnbombers.

Fermanagh St Patrick’s Day Festival won the Ireland Award for their revival of a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Enniskillen.

Roisin McManus, Programme Manager, Fermanagh St. Patrick’s Day Festival spoke of the organising committees pride at winning the award:

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, commended the team and all the nominated groups “for their enthusiasm and commitment in delivering high quality community arts based events,” while Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in the South of Ireland, offered his congratulations to all the voluntary arts groups that have won an Epic Award, saying: “I know that voluntary arts groups make a significant contribution to the social fabric of our communities.”

Delighted to welcome the EPIC Awards to Londonderry, Kevin Murphy, Chief Officer Voluntary Arts Ireland, said: “We have been amazed by the range and quality of entries to the 2013 Epic Awards, from community choirs to wakeboarding leprechauns, young film makers to three kilometre chalk murals, all doing incredible things in their communities.”

Congratulate the winners he said VAI looked forward to seeing what this year’s festival would bring.

Next year’s ceremony will be held in Glasgow to coincide with the commonwealth games. To find out more log on to http://epicawards.co.uk

Earlier in the day scores of crafty people were out in force on Thursday afternoon for an art and craft party at the Verbal Art Centre.

Hosted by Voluntary Arts Ireland, the three-hour extravaganza of visual and performance art was recorded for a forthcoming special ‘Lesser Spotted Culture’ with roving TV presenter Joe Mahon.

Visitors to the Centre were assaulted by floral artists from St Columb’s Cathedral as soon as they entered the building and the ground floor of the premises was peppered with easels holding fine art and paintings aloft.

There was a huge amount of interest in the Kidz Art stand, the table for which was groaning with all manner of quirky and funky mobiles, jewellery ideas and mobiles made from recycling plastic bottles and funking them up with pipe cleaners and coloured paper.

Another corner was taken over by some very skilled knitters and crocheters, and adjacent to the reception desk fine art was the order of the day, with an impressive display of sketches and traditional art.

Upstairs was a different kettle of fish, with a clay modeller enchanting onlookers with her miniatures of everything from bunny rabbits to tiny teacakes and the skills of embroidery and quilting were taken to a new level with a crafter displaying detailed wall hangings which have been used to decorate bus shelters in the city. They shared the space with a troupe of Flamenco dancers, ‘Solas Flamenco’ who put on a dazzling display with their routines and Japanese drummers assaulted the ear drums with a fast-paced set of rhythm and percussion set pieces.

There was a large and representative turnout for the Epic Awards, the annual Voluntary Arts showcase of the very best of amateur arts and crafts activity in the UK and Ireland.

Each year, one winner and runner up from Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland is chosen to win a host of prizes in recognition of the work they have carried out in their local community .




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