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Friday, 15th May 2020

Artists asked to create a show of hands to support cultural sector

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The Grasp the Arts campaign calls for a “show of hands”, with participants creating a piece that represents them reaching out and clasping the arts and then sharing this piece to the hashtag #graspthearts to illustrate the number of people attached to Ireland’s cultural industry.

Local artists are being asked to create a show of hands to generate support for the Irish cultural sector during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Grasp the Arts campaign is calling for participants to make a cast of their creative hand by way of a squeeze in clay, salt dough or paper pulp, to represent them reaching out and grasping the arts.

Participants will then label the piece with a message on the importance of the creative industries in their lives before sharing a photo of the piece with the hashtag #graspthearts.

“The concept of Grasp The Arts is to highlight the numbers working in Ireland’s cultural sector and the lasting impact this shut down is having on us now and far into the future,” said campaign creator and artist Niamh O’Connor.

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“These pieces are designed to illustrate the number of people attached to Ireland’s cultural industry and to demonstrate the diversity within Ireland's cultural capital."

The campaign also hopes to highlight the difficulties faced by artists during this pandemic due to loss of income, opportunity, and funding.

“Grasp The Arts is striving to show the impact of Irish creative industries within the economic ecosystem in which they generate both direct and indirect employment,” said Niamh.

“As our government departments come to terms with finding solutions to a range of new and unprecedented issues across the board, the arts should not be overlooked.

“With such a spotlight currently placed on human creativity to help us through this period of pandemic, the value of Irish cultural work cannot be overstated in its impact on societal wellbeing and mental health through entertainment, escapism, and social critique.”

Ms O’Connor has teamed up with with AAEX (Art As Exchange), a Dundalk-based open group of visual artists who collectively support the creation of public art that is accessible, experiential, participative and/or free.

AAEX have assisted O’Connor in the development of the campaign, and the group hope to exhibit the pieces collectively once it is safe to do so.

“The members of AAEX have been wonderfully supportive as a sounding board and fountain of insight. As a volunteer organisation, they demonstrate the solidarity that exists within the Irish cultural sphere,” said Niamh.

Full details on how to support or join the campaign and recipes for homemade salt dough or paper pulp can be found at

Follow social media #graspthearts on Instagram and Twitter. 

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