Deep within many Irish children is a mini-Matisse or pint-sized Picasso bursting to break out.
Each year since 2009, Sightsavers has celebrated the creative imaginations of Ireland’s children through its Junior Painter Awards competition. Laureate na nÓg and children’s book illustrator, PJ Lynch, joined a host of budding artists in the futuristic setting of The Convention Centre Dublin to launch the 2017 Junior Painter Awards. Last year schools from Offaly submitted hundreds of paintings and with entries now open, Sightsavers calls on children across the county to get thinking and create a masterpiece.
Embracing creativity and education are the core objectives of the Junior Painter Awards competition. Open to primary school students of all ages across Ireland, this year’s theme of “Framing the Future” is expected to inspire thousands of imaginative entries. Sightsavers wants to frame the future as an inclusive world where children living with disabilities get to go to school and invites Irish children to let their imaginations run wild and create their very own masterpiece which envisions what they see when they think of the future.
Powerful expression, originality and creativity are tips given by the judges for this year’s Junior Painter Awards which includes some of the greatest influences in Irish art and design. The judging panel comprises Emmy-award winning costume designer Joan Bergin, Children’s Laureate PJ Lynch, and artist and director of Arts and Disability Ireland Padraig Naughton. Entrants have the chance to win cash prizes for their schools, sponsored by the Irish Times, and memberships and ‘toolboxes’ full of arts and crafts materials from ReCreate Ireland.
Speaking about the launch of this year’s awards, Sightsavers Communications Manager Ann O’Leary said: “It is a sad and startling fact that 90% of people who are blind live in developing countries and 90% of children who are blind do not go to school. The Junior Painter Awards is a fantastic way to teach Irish children about the value of sight and the impact that living with blindness can have on children around the world; the competition is an important educational tool which integrates with the primary school curriculum. It’s also a fun competition and I expect the theme of Framing the Future will get the creative juices flowing and we’ll see some wonderfully imaginative pieces of art created. I wish the best of luck to all the children entering.”
Fifteen regional winners will be selected and will have the opportunity to see their work displayed at a special Awards Day in spring 2017 where three overall national winners will be announced. Every child that enters will receive a Certificate of Participation in recognition of their creative efforts.
The closing date for entry is Friday November 25th 2016. Parents and children can get involved by speaking to their school teacher or by visiting Sightsavers website to request entry forms:www.sightsavers.ie/ juniorpainter