Monday 10 August marked the last event in the current home of the Office of Important Art – CastleCourt Shopping Centre.

Save the Children NI’s ‘Read On, Get On’ event, including a special performance of Once Upon A Time, was a fitting send-off for a space that over 20 months has been a venue for laughter, play, experimentation and fun.

The Office of Important Art is a pop-up arts initiative set up by Young at Art.  It was created as a FREE space where children, young people and families could explore creativity through exhibitions, workshops, talks and seminars.

The principle behind the space was that it existed to direct children and adults towards art-forms, to raise awareness and knowledge about why different art-forms are important and how they work, and to provide democratic access to the arts by putting into a public and civic space.

During Young at Art’s residency in CastleCourt the Office of Important Art hosted 51 free events and workshops attended by some 3,000 people, provided a studio space for a local visual artist in residence, and a free development and rehearsal space for 7 different projects and productions

Exhibitions, performances and workshops were delivered by Young at Art and a host of partners; including individual artists, Belfast Print Workshop, Replay Theatre Company, De Stilte Dance Company, Belfast Festivals Forum, PLACE NI, Somewhere_to, Wheelworks, Children’s Books Ireland and Save the Children.

Particularly successful projects during this time included both Culture Babies, a creative play-group for under 4s and Food For Thought, a series of ‘creative meals’ aimed to reignite the art of conversation and enable children, their families and communities to share ideas, opinions, fears and hopes in a safe and creative environment.

In celebration of this time we want to highlight some of the wonderful events that have taken place and say thank-you to CastleCourt and all the partners, artists, staff and volunteers for their support in making these wonderful events happen.

The Office of Important Art is currently homeless.  If you think you can offer it a home and support, please contact us.

Some particpant feedback:

Culture Babies:

“My kids had so much fun doing all the wonderful things organised by Culture Babies. It is good to know that such activities are going on free of charge for everyone. Please keep up this good work!”

“Culture Babies has been a brilliant experience for Ronan he has just loved all the activities and the interaction with the other children. Funding needs to be found from somewhere to keep this type of events running! Thank you Young at Art - more please!”

Food for Thought:

‘Amazing. Great idea, a really nice sense of community. Joyful. ‘

“Just brilliant.  Perfect for families. Nice to talk to new people.  Lovely food.  Should happen regularly.”

General:

“I really, really loved the Office of Important Art, and more importantly so did my 2 year old nephew. The staff were brilliant with kids, the location was great and the activities were superb."