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Exhibition of Donegal creative work marks end of successful programme

by Liam Porter

Creative businesses in Donegal have been urged to continue engaging with the Creative Coast initiative run by Local Enterprise Office, Donegal.
The call was made by Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, at a presentation ceremony in Letterkenny’s Motley Crow Anti-Café, where ten local creatives businesses received certificates and put work on display for an exhibition that will run until Saturday May 19th.
Those certificates, presented on the night by the Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle, marked end of a training programme organised by the Local Enterprise Office in conjunction with the Design and Craft Council of Ireland (DCCI).
 “This is the second such programme we have run in conjunction with the DCCI and on both occasions the feedback on the training the businesses have received has been excellent,” Michael Tunney said.
 He added that the training was part of the wider Creative Coast initiative aimed at creating the right conditions for creative entrepreneurship in the county.
“We launched the Creative Coast three years ago and we have plans to hold an event at the end of this month to review what has happened since that launch. There has been progress made – programmes like this for instance have been very successful – but there is still much work to do and I believe this needs much more time and more engagement from our creative community, to really see the results.”
The Head of Enterprise added that there is merit in investing the time and resources towards making more sustainable creative businesses.
“We know there is a real value in creative businesses for the local economy and they link into the whole visitor and tourist experience as well. I’m not just talking craft either, but across the wider creative platforms and we need our creative businesses in the county to continue to engage, to get involved with our programmes and keep the momentum going.”
Emer Feran from the Design and Craft Council of Ireland said Donegal has an oustanding array of craft makers across the county, but she echoed Michael Tunney’s comments by urging creative businesses to continue to engage with the Creative Coast.
“Working as a creative you can often feel very isolated and it is good to be part of programmes like this to learn and help grow your business, but also to network and talk to other creatives to see potential new opportunities,” she said.
As part of their programme the group went to London to visit the Top Drawer exhibition, while their own exhibition currently on show in The Motley Crow, was curated for the Design and Craft Council of Ireland by well-known interior designer Milo Fitzgerald.
The ten creatives who successfully completed the programme and whose work is on display until next weekend are – Anne McGonigle, Fiona Doherty, Lorraine O’Carroll, Eilis Galbraith, Olive McGovern, Fiona Herbst, Alarnagh Barrett McGinley, Margaret Gillespie, Grainne Campbell and Ciaran Boyce. 
Meanwhile all creative businesses in Donegal have been urged to look out for details of an event to mark a review of the Creative Coast at the end of the month. The event will take place at 2pm in the Regional Cultural Centre on Thursday 31 May and further details will be released soon.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.