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The Ark in Dublin’s Temple Bar is a wonderful place for children to explore art and discover their own talents. Yesterday they opened the exhibition Once Upon a Picture , a collection of artwork to inspire young and old to rediscover fairy-tales and their creative possibilities.

As you wander around the exhibit you can’t help but feel like a giant, everything is hung at hip height to make it easy for children to properly see the art, making it easier for them to engage. For  adults this means bending and hunkering down, an odd sensation in a gallery but one that forces physical participation.

The selection may be small, but this only encourages one to linger longer and is perfect for a child’s shorter attention span. And since all the art has magical, otherworldly qualities The Ark invites all visitors to sit and draw or write down any tales the pictures make them imagine. And for all who want to spend a little bit more time in the world of imagination there are several workshops and events they can join in on.

The idea is inspired by W.B Yates and his dedication to the preservation, collection and the imagination of Irish fairy tales and Folklore. This great Irish poet was born 150 years ago and as the world, and Dublin (his birthplace) in particular, celebrates his influence on 20th century literature The Ark is only one of many galleries to honor him.

I for one enjoyed my trip to The Ark and enjoyed being inspired and urged to create. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a few minutes over the next few days to write my own fairy-tale filled with giants and fairies, monsters and ghouls, magic and the impossible.

A wonderful piece by Irish artist Alice Maher (Centaurius, charcoal on paper, 2006)

A wonderful piece by Irish artist Alice Maher (Centaurius, charcoal on paper, 2006)

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Aoibheann Greennan, Lotus Eater (both Staff and Puffin) papier-mache, 2013)

Aoibheann Greennan, Lotus Eater (both Staff and Puffin) papier-mache, 2013)

Beth O'Halloran, Sylvan Setting series, mixed media, 2014

Beth O’Halloran, Sylvan Setting series, mixed media, 2014

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