Harnessing the creative energy of youth in Cork city

The teenage years are not only a time for rebellion, but an important time to build a creative identity, according to William Frode De La Foret, Cork Community Art Link’s (CCAL) artistic director.

“I don’t think you can brand all teens as being rebellious or all being at a ‘difficult age’,” Frode De La Foret says.

“It all depends on your angle: how you talk with them and how you see them.”

It’s about trying to find their perspective and their anchoring point; what interests them, what music they like. And then it’s about giving them room.

To prepare for CCAL’s Rebel Streets festival, the doors of their building in Blackpool’s former Lido have been open from 2.30pm to 8pm each evening, for teens and young people to drop in and pick up street art skills like spraying and stencilling.

Working alongside community organisations like Cork Traveller Visibility Group, Springboard Farranree, and the YMCA, five CCAL facilitators, including Frode De La Foret, have also been aiding the creation of a huge street mural on the Watercourse Road nearby, which will be unveiled for the street art festival.

A fervent believer in the power of building and maintaining creative community alliances, Frode De La Foret says street arts including graffiti skills, and street-style music like hip-hop, are valuable ways to engage teens with the creativity that they’ll hopefully carry into adulthood, and that the drive that leads to more illicit and less creative use of graffiti can be harnessed and used for positive projects.

“A young person of 16 who is trying to write something on a wall that proves that he exists is being creative,” he says.

“Nietsche recognised that every human will want to leave a mark somewhere, as a sign that they exist. I don’t agree with defacing private property, but this kind of work allows people to use the skills creatively; I’d prefer to see beautiful art in the street and encourage people to do nice things.”

The Blackpool-based street arts festival is a festival within a festival, being held as part of Cruinniú na nÓg, a day of free creative events for children and young people all over the country, now in its second year. As well as street art workshops, a river sculpture at Blackpool Church and live art pieces, rapper GMC, dancer Andrea Williams and DJ Stevie G will be on hand.

Cruinniú na nÓg takes place in Cork City locations on Saturday the 15th June. Rebel Streets eventsare based around The Lido, 71 Watercourse Road, Blackpool and run from 10am to 5pm.

Other Cruinniú na nÓg events in Cork

  • Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

    Based on the book by Rumer Godden, this adaptation by BrokenCrow theatre company is told with puppets.

    Douglas Library at 11am and Cork City Library, Grand Parade at 3pm. Designed for the 6-8 age-group.

  • Book Cover Design Workshop
  • Rylane author and illustrator Celina Buckley, whose retelling of the legend of The Salmon of Knowledge was published this year, will lead a workshop in colour, design and composition.

    Bishopstown Library at 11.30am

  • Legend has it...
  • Indulging children’s fascination with myth and legend, writer and spoken word artist Ravnita Joyce will lead this storytelling session, laden with Greek gods and deities from international traditions, in the Crawford’s sculpture gallery. Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place from 12pm to 12.45pm. For the 8-10 age-group, accompanied by adults.

  • Dominic Moore Puppet Show
  • Dominic Moore will perform two shows at Elizabeth Fort, and there are free guided tours of the fort at 1pm and 3pm, Elizabeth Fort, Barrack St, 2.30pm, 4pm.

    Music Workshops, Opera House Local rapper GMC will lead a rapping, songwriting and performing workshop at 11am; while a traditional Irish Music workshop is at 2pm.

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