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Reflecting on a Transformative Year:
Clonmel Junction Arts Festival
In the tapestry of Clonmel's cultural landscape, 2023 marked a pivotal chapter for the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival. With an expansion in scope and ambition, the festival unfolded as a celebration of the arts twice the size of its recent iterations. At its core was a resolute commitment to spotlighting local talent and Clonmel-produced creations, firmly anchoring the community's artistic spirit at the heart of the festivities.

As well as the annual festival, we were lucky enough to be awarded a Decade of Centenaries project award, culminating in the production of "From Out The Land" at Kickham Barracks in September. This landmark endeavour not only honoured Kickham Barracks and those that served there, but also underscored our festival's enduring mission to intertwine narratives of Clonmel's past with visions of its future.

Under the stewardship of Artistic Director Cliona Maher since 2019, Clonmel Junction Arts Festival has embraced a programming ethos that pairs local artists with national and international organisations. This inclusive approach, amplifying the voices of Clonmel's artistic community while fostering broader connections, continues to define our curatorial agenda.
Looking ahead to 2024, we embark on a new chapter with the theme "Legacy X Next," inviting a spirited exploration of Clonmel's rich artistic heritage alongside forward-looking visions. This theme serves as a catalyst for dialogue, inviting audiences to engage with the interplay between tradition and innovation, heritage and evolution. Watch this space to see that programme unfold for the upcoming festival in July 2024.

Beyond the festival planning, Clonmel Junction Arts Festival is deeply engaged in the revitalization efforts of Clonmel, notably through involvement in the Clonmel Town Team initiative. As advocates for the arts, we champion the transformative power of creative spaces, advocating for the rejuvenation of derelict areas to serve as vibrant cultural hubs.

Clonmel Junction Arts Festival has a long history in producing work in ‘found’ spaces – the former Chadwicks building, pop-up galleries in empty shops, and most memorably in 2022’s Everything Must GO!, a site-specific show in the former Superquinn shopping centre about the impact of dereliction in a popular retail area. These projects not only breathe life into forgotten locales but also offer platforms for collaboration between local talent and seasoned professionals, nurturing a thriving artistic ecosystem.

At the heart of our mission lies a steadfast commitment to community engagement, inviting individuals from all walks of life to participate in the festival's tapestry of expression. Whether as audience members, volunteers, or performers, we strive to cultivate a sense of ownership and belonging, empowering Clonmel's residents to shape their cultural narrative.

For Cliona Maher, our Artistic Director, the revitalization of Clonmel's town centre is not just a professional imperative but a personal passion. Rooted in her upbringing on O'Connell Street, this endeavour embodies a deeply-held belief in the power of collective action to effect meaningful change.

Despite the difficulties faced across all sectors in the current time, we remain steadfast in our conviction that through collaboration and creativity, we can chart a course towards a brighter, more vibrant Clonmel for generations to come.

Join us on this journey of transformation and discovery at the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival - where the past meets the future, and creativity knows no bounds.
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