A fascinating community art project which beautifully captures Balbriggan through the eyes of its people was launched in the town on December 16.Visual artist and art educator Alison O’Grady collected memories and stories from people connected to Balbriggan and created one large illustration across 60 canvases which locals could then paint. “My concept was to collect memories and stories from people connected to Balbriggan and create one large illustration across 60 canvases called Ár mBaile, which locals could then paint,” said Alison. The result is a stunning labour of love through which locals reflect their pride of place. It is set to further boost Balbriggan’s growing reputation as a centre for the arts. The project has been funded by Fingal County Council’s Our Balbriggan Placemaking Fund, established to make the town an even better place to live, work, visit and do business. Alison, who created a mural in the town in 2021, set out to create a visual art form which captured the spirit of the north Dublin seaside town. She said, “ The final illustration is a montage of places and landmarks in Balbriggan, some buildings and structures are long since gone. Our Balbriggan (the town’s rejuvenation programme led by Fingal County Council) provided me with a vacant space at 2-4 Dublin Street in the town. I created a pop-up art studio and utilised the space to sketch out the composition and set to work on drawing the illustration across 60 canvases. Then I opened the space to the public last summer so they could come along, choose a canvas, and paint it in their own personal way. Each day, people turned up to paint. It was wonderful; grandparents, parents, children, families and their friends dropped by the studio to check out the project and participate. The stories and memories kept flowing throughout the two weeks the pop-up art studio was open. It was fantastic to see so many people across the generations involved in creating an artistic representation of their town.” Alison was previously commissioned to create an illustration to accompany the words of local Olympic athlete Andrew Coscoran that “Balbriggan is class” which were painted on the Our Balbriggan Hub at Georges Square.