25 May 2022

Kilkenny's Butler Gallery receives fund to help address plight of Freshwater Pearl Mussel

Gallery will receive €10,000 from the St Patrick’s Festival x TikTok Creative Fund for research and creative events


Caroline Goulding, TikTok; and Anna McGowan, Interim Director of St. Patrick’s Festival pictured with recipient group representatives PICTURE: Julien Behal

Butler Gallery in Kilkenny is to receive €10,000 from the St Patrick's Festival X TikTok Creative Fund for their project which will see them work with artist Mary Conroy, the local community and Kilkenny environmental activist groups, to address the plight of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel.

Through a process of creative workshops, walks, talks and river exploration, they will learn conservation skills and explore natural materials such as clay harvesting, natural dyeing and pigment making, and print making techniques. They will create a sculptural intervention on the river that will address this threatened species.

The fund, which was designed to support and inspire creativity in Irish communities, will be distributed to ten community groups and charitable organisations in counties Dublin, Cork, Offaly, Louth, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Cavan, and Donegal.

This €10,000 project award will support the work of these local groups in developing and delivering creative responses to their own unique community challenges. A pop-up community choir, dance workshops, heritage projects and tours, and arts and craft therapy sessions are just some of the projects which will be supported by the St Patrick’s Festival x TikTok Creative Fund.

The creative investment forms the final part of the €500,000 commitment made by TikTok earlier this year to support St Patrick's Festival 2021. This took place over six days in March through SPF TV, a dedicated online TV channel, and an historic partnership with Oireachtas TV which brought the Festival to 1.1 million homes in Ireland during lockdown. 

The St Patrick’s Festival team will now commence work with each of the ten selected community groups to realise
their ambitious creative projects.

Butler Gallery is  committed to participative and hands-on creative learning, fostering the creativity of every person as they engage with urgent societal issues like the climate crisis.

Speaking about the funding, Hollie Kearns, Learning and Public Engagement Curator, Butler Gallery Kilkenny said:
“We’re delighted that with this award, Butler Gallery can work together with our local community in Kilkenny, led by
artist Mary Conroy, to address the plight of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel through shared learning and artistic
interventions. Together we will have a dynamic, creative and exciting opportunity to make a meaningful impact on
biodiversity loss in our local area, and the award will empower us to be the next generation of ‘river keepers’ on the
River Nore.”

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