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Open Arts to launch Words Out at Belfast Book Festival

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | From the Front Row

Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin

Words Out, a new book of poetry, prose and pictures produced by participants from the ground-breaking arts and disability organisation Open Arts will be launched at a special Belfast Book Festival performance event at the Crescent Arts Centre at 1pm on Thursday 16 June.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Open Arts inspires and supports the creativity and artistic development of disabled people through its weekly classes in a wide range of art forms – music, drama, dance, writing and visual art.

Open Arts participants have a range of disabilities, including physical, sensory, learning disabilities and mental health illness.

Eileen Branagh, Chief Executive of Open Arts said:

“The dual meaning of the title ‘Word(‘)s Out’ – facilitating disabled people to express themselves creatively and enabling them to be seen and heard by showcasing their talents – neatly encompasses what Open Arts has been doing for the past 30 years.

The themes of Words Out include family, nature, love and creativity and the work is funny, moving, quirky, thought-provoking and fresh.”

Andrew Ward, a member of the Open Arts Creative Writing group whose work features in the book said:

“Open Arts is my creative and social lifeline and being part of the organisation has helped me enormously over the past couple of years. As well as the great support I receive in the writing class and opportunities to be part of projects like ‘Words Out’, the Open Arts team has also helped me to access my own funding. I now have mentors who are helping me to create my own work that explores my feelings about my diagnosis of autism later in life.”

To book your ‘Pay What You Want’ ticket for the launch of Words Out at the Crescent Arts Centre on Thursday 16 June, search ‘Open Arts Book Launch’ at www.belfastbookfestival.com

Copies of Words Out will be available for free from 17 June from the Crescent Arts Centre on University Road and University of the Atypical on Royal Avenue.

Open Arts is principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and receives Core Multi-Annual Funding from Belfast City Council’s Tourism Culture & Arts Unit.

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