Cork Community Art Link is a community arts organisation developing collaborative projects between artists, communities, groups and individuals. We provide access to artists programmes and training for all members of the public, working with community groups and a particular focus towards communities traditionally marginalised in their access to the arts, recognition and development of their culture and their participation in the making of wider local and national culture. This year marks 30 years of experience, unique multidisciplinary, and people centred practice, CCAL is recognised as a leading organisation in Participatory Practices Street Arts. This is also the 22nd year of CCAL’s participation in Cork City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The theme of this year’s parade was ‘a century of stories’, the CCAL crew gave a lot of thought to what they would create and came up with The Blackpool Express which tells some of the stories of the people creating and expressing their own culture. These people are challenging the social barriers that mystify and limit the making of art. The locomotive train was accompanied by three epic wagons as it journeyed through the parade and was a delight to all those who watched the parade.

CCAL offers workshop programmes to various community groups and volunteers. Workshops were offered weekly and each group worked on a different element of the production. They worked on the train, the props and much more in preparation of the parade. They also worked in the final weeks with CCAL’s drama facilitator towards the performance for the day. Costumes, face paint, and props were all created ahead of the parade in order to create the characters. Volunteers got involved in the weeks leading up to the parade, working on various elements, assisting the workshop on costume, paper mâché, painting, construction and other skills. Volunteers that joined in on the workshops also got involved on the day, pushing floats, face painting and assisting with the costuming.

On the 17th of March the floats were assembled, faces were painted and people got into character as they put on their costumes. The CCAL crew was supported by the volunteers assisting with the floats, props and costumes and once the parade got underway everyone had a wonderful time.

The next upcoming project for CCAL is the Midsummer Parade as part of the Midsummer Festival which will take place in June 2023. We will create amazing and colourful new customers, props and floats all designed by the CCAL crew with collaboration from communities groups and volunteers. Workshops will be held in the months leading up to the parade with community groups and volunteers to construct and paint the floats, props and costumes. There will also be other groups that will feature in the performances. The Midsummer Parade is an exciting time of year and we look forward to creating a production that everyone will enjoy.

Keep an eye out on our website and social media for a project management role and volunteer roles.