The Open Arts Javanese Gamelan is now available for residencies in Belfast!
Since the Open Arts Gamelan arrived in Belfast from Java in 1995, it has travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, and for the last 3 years has resided in the Music Department at Stranmillis University College, running Gamelan music sessions with community groups of all ages and abilities.
However, from January 2014, it will be released to travel again…!
Not sure what a Gamelan is??
A Gamelan is an amazing orchestra of percussion instruments from Indonesia, comprising gongs, metallophones and drums of various shapes and sizes, and can be played by up to 20 people at any one time.
As well as being stunningly beautiful, the Gamelan has an other-worldly, vibrant & sonorous sound, and can be played by anyone, regardless of age, disability or previous musical experience.It is therefore the perfect tool for bringing school or community groups together, and for corporate team-building days.
Please follow the link below to get a flavour of some of our recent Gamelan projects and performances.
If you are interested in hosting a Gamelan residency – for a minimum of 6 weeks in a secure and accessible room of about 375 sq ft or 15 x 25ft
- please contact Bev Whyte, Musical Director for Open Arts, on 02890 240765
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to forward this information to any other groups whom you think may be interested
21 – Open Arts Comes of Age
Usually on your 21st birthday you are given the proverbial ‘key to the door.’ But Open Arts has turned this tradition on its head by opening its doors to the public with an interactive showcase exhibition that highlights its extensive work in enabling disabled people’s participation in the arts over the past 21 years.
The exhibition launch and birthday party was held on Monday 28th of October in the Crescent Arts Centre. It included performances by Open Arts Luminous Soul dancers, Gamelan musicians, members of the Open Arts Community Choir and readings by the Open Arts creative writers. The Open Arts staff shared out a 21st birthday cake with all of the invited guests.
Open Arts has worked steadily away in the background since 1992 providing a huge array of opportunities for disabled people in the arts. This exhibition is a chance for Open Arts to flaunt its scope and impact.
“It is amazing how much work Open Arts has done over the years” said Eileen Branagh, the new CEO of the organization. “We have involved people with disabilities in world class shows from the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony to the Last Choir Standing TV show, to the World Police and Fire Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies this year.”
But these high profile special performances are only the tip of the iceberg. Open Arts runs an extensive programme of classes in creative writing, dance, choir, gamelan, visual arts and drama for hundreds of disabled people every year in Belfast and all over Northern Ireland. On top of this, they organise major events and performances.
The showcase exhibition ran until Saturday 2nd November. It also included daily hour long workshops activities for exhibition visitors to get fully immersed in the work that Open Arts does. In true Open Arts fashion, these were open to anyone who wanted to join in.
Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “The Arts Council are delighted to support Open Arts as they celebrate their 21st anniversary of supporting and enabling thousands of disabled people from across Northern Ireland to participate in the arts,” she said. “This goal is unachievable without Open Arts and the other organisations working in Northern Ireland to make the arts genuinely open to all. That is the reason why Open Arts is one of the Arts Council’s core clients and the reason why we’ve been a keen and enthusiastic funder of Open Arts for as long as anyone can remember.”
Open Arts presents 21
An exhibition highlighting 21 years of commitment to valuing creativity, furthering artistic excellence and promoting the rights and employment of disabled people within the arts.
Monday 28 October to Saturday 2 November
at the Crescent Arts Centre Gallery
2 – 4 University Road, Belfast
Free public activities each day, check
Our Gamelan was selected by Culture Night Organizer, Adam Turkington, to perform at the Culture Night Belfast Launch Ceremony in August. On Culture Night itself, the Gamelan played in the Art College for several hours.
Kate Ingram on the gamelan gongs
Click the link to watch a video of the Open Arts Gamelan Players performing at the launch event.
Open Arts is currently recruiting new Gamelan players, with rehearsals starting on Wednesday 25 September at 4.30pm. Please email Bev Whyte, Musical Director, email@example.com for more info, or to register your interest.
Morton Community Centre Mural, with Craig Blakely and Marylouise McCord (Lou Lou).
For Morton Community Centre’s celebration of 25 years of bringing people together,
the Open Arts Morton Monday Visual Arts Group worked with artist Ash Reynolds and other centre user groups to create a beautiful mural for permanent display in the centre.
Belfast Lord Mayor Mairtin O’Muilleoir surprised Kate Ingram, CEO of Open Arts from its foundation in 1992 until April of this year, with a Belfast Ambassador Award during a tea reception yesterday, Monday the 5th of August, in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour.
The award is a new initiative, presented to ex-pats and locals who are outstanding advocates for the people and city of Belfast.
Our Luminous Soul Dancers are in rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony of the World Police and Fire Games in the Kings Hall this Thursday, 1st of August.The Open Arts Community Choir will perform at the closing ceremony on the 10th of August, which is not open to the general public.
The World Police and Fire Games is a biennial event for serving and retired police, fire, prison and border security officers.
WPFG is the third largest international multi-sport event in the world and will be the largest ever sporting event to take place in Northern Ireland. In 2013 there will be 56 sports held at 41 venues across Northern Ireland. Over 7,000 competitors from over 60 countries are expected to take part.
The Opening Ceremony tickets have all now been allocated but if you would like to watch it will be streamed live from 6.30pm on Thursday night on www.bbc.co.uk/ni.
Open Arts took every member of its 30-strong Open Arts Community Choir to Wales this July to compete in one of the world’s most renowned choral competitions, the International Musical Eisteddfod.
The choir visited the Eisteddfod Cultural Festival several years ago as a community performance group. This year they were invited back this year as competitors in the Eisteddfod Choral Competition. To compete, a group must meet a very high standard and pass a rigorous selection process.
Open Arts Musical Director Beverley Whyte, who will conduct the choir at the Eisteddfod, said, “The standard of singing at OACC is very high at the minute. We are able to communicate a lot of emotion, energy and humour in our songs.”
The 30 choir members travelled by coach and ferry to Wales for 5 days, along with some family members and support workers. The non-disabled and disabled members work together as a team to overcome any accessibility problems.
The choir competed on Thursday the 11th of July in the Folk Song Choir category and again in the Chamber Choirs competition on Friday the 12th of July. They also give a public performance on Saturday the 13th of July on the S4C stage at 12.45 pm.
“The experience of competing at such high levels helps us to raise our game,” said Whyte. “Plus listening to other great choirs always gives us inspiration for future projects and new repertoire.”
The competition was televised on S4C (Sky) on the three performance days, and garnered national and international attention for the choir.
In the tradition of one of the most famous poems in the English language – John Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn – the participants of Open Arts Creative Writing groups have written Time Transformed, a collection of poems inspired by reflection on historical objects. The collection was launched at a special event on the 26th of June in the Ulster Museum, with local celebrity Nuala McKeever, who introduced and read selected poems from the booklet.