THE countryside around Sliabh Beagh in east Fermanagh is certainly much brighter looking this summer.
Brightly painted ‘art shelters’ are springing up on many country roads in the area giving country roads a new look.
Donna Bannon, arts co-ordinator at Sliabh Beagh explained that 18 have been completed to date with the aid of funding from the Arts Council for Northern Ireland.
“We’ve been doing them in batches depending what funding is coming through and started with the ones closest to home in the Sliabh Beagh area,” she said.
“The paintings are done by hand by a number of different artists, some local and some from Belfast,” she said.
“In the cities and built up areas you have so many big walls and great areas to put public art work, so here we turn our attention to bales and bus shelters,” she added.
A map is to be released showing the spot where each of the painted shelters are situated.
“The hope is that now when the map is released it will create interest and increase cultural tourism for the area.
“Hopefully people will come to the area to see these beautifully decorated bus shelters and that in itself will have a knock on affect bringing people into the area,” said Donna.
“We’ll keep going as long as well as we can. The first ones, like the ones in the Knocks were done almost two years ago and will have to be repainted soon. It’s just a process we will have to go through.”
Sliabh Beagh are hoping to get another seven shelters completed in the near future, bringing the total to 25.
Locally the response has been amazing, she says, “Similar to the bales being painted.”
“People are just loving them. People are already starting to come into the area to view them because they are tagged on Facebook that creates more business. The PSNI even tagged one of them on Facebook asking the question, “Guess where we’re sitting?”
Now locals are constantly updating their favourites and the children are loving them.
“It’s all about bringing art into the landscape,” she said, “and lifting everyone’s spirits.”
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