Founded in 1983, Creative Activity for Everyone came into existence following a series of seminars on community arts. One of the original aims of the organisation was to promote community arts and to act as a network service for arts practitioners. The creation of CAFE, as it became known, grew out of a sense of commitment to the empowering potential of the arts and cultural democracy. Given the volatility of the arts sector in Ireland, and the tenuous support for community arts in general, it is a testimony to the tenacity and vision of a whole group of people that CAFE grew, prevailed and survived.

The organisation was at the forefront of many pioneering initiatives, providing innovative training courses for arts workers and developing an all-island database of arts skills and resources. ‘The Funding Handbook’ was published in six editions from 1986 -2007 and became an invaluable resource to both the arts and voluntary sectors. In 2003 the name was changed to Create, reflecting that times had moved on for the organisation, in the course of its twenty year history, and in the broader arts environment.

In 2006, Create confirmed its status as a national organisation and clarified its vision and purpose as the national development agency for collaborative arts in social and community contexts. Since 2006, Create has worked in partnership with the Arts Council and a range of arts and civil society organisations to encourage, promote and support the development of the collaborative arts sector.

Create managed the research and consultation process for the Arts Council’s Cultural Diversity and The Arts and has, in partnership with WHAT (Waterford Healing Arts Trust), worked on the development of a new Arts and Health website ArtsandHealth.ie and continues to manage the Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme which funds artists to work collaboratively with communities to create contemporary arts projects.

Artists and arts organisations seeking sound, informed and impartial advice as to the best approaches to collaborative arts practice that challenges and inspires have an organisation specifically devoted to their needs.

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