IrishCentral Creativity and Arts Awards 2018

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Welcome to the inaugural IrishCentral Creativity & Arts Awards, honoring excellence and innovation across the Irish creative community in America.

You can take a look at all of the categories and nominees below and have your say by voting for the winner in five categories: Media & Innovation, Voice of Today, The Screen, Fashion & Design, Irish Centers & Festivals

The winners will be announced and celebrated at an awards ceremony held on Friday, February 9, at the beautiful American Irish Historical Society in New York. The ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook by TG4, as well as by

Cast your votes below, and click on a nominee's name to congratulate them on social media. You must scroll down to the bottom of the page to submit your vote. Voting closes at 11:59pm EST on January 31

Tickets for this event are now SOLD OUT but you can join us on Facebook Feb 9 to watch it live with TG4

Media & Innovation in-usa-logo

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In association with Irish Network USA 

1. Nigel Eccles, Founder FanDuel and Entrepreneur

Tyrone man Nigel Eccles founded web-based fantasy sports game FanDuel in 2009 and grew it to 6 million users before stepping down to focus on new start-up opportunities in 2018.

2. Samantha Barry, Editor-in-Chief, Glamour

Samantha Barry, originally from Co. Cork, was recently named the new Editor-in-Chief of Glamour magazine, charged with ushering the legacy publication into a digital future. Previously, she was Executive Producer for Social and Emerging Media at CNN Worldwide.

3. Paul Quigley, Founder & CEO of Newswhip

Paul, a native of Dublin, founded Newswhip in 2011 and has successfully made it world's largest engagement database, allowing newsrooms to identify important and emerging stories.

4. Dermot McCormack, Founder SNKR Inc

Dublin-born Dermot is the former global president of AOL Studios and recently founded SNKR Inc, a video and media company devoted to producing premium content centered on the sneaker culture.

5. Claire McHugh, Axonista

Claire, originally from Dublin, is CEO and Co-Founder of Axonista, a company that is leading the way in making television and video more interactive and lists media giants such as MTV, ESPN, and QVC among its clients.

Voice of Today

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1. Maeve Higgins, Comedian & Maeve in America podcast

Maeve, a native of Cobh, County Cork, has made a name for herself in the US  with the hit podcast Maeve In America. She has performed stand-up all over the world, most recently, Erbil, Iraq. As well as being a comedian and author, she also co-hosts StarTalk on National Geographic.

2. Christine Kinealy, Historian, Author and Founding Director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University

Born in Liverpool, Christine has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress.

3. Maureen Dowd, New York Times

American Institution Maureen O’Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author, and commentator for the New York Times.

4. John Donoghue, Loyola University Chicago

John Donoghue is an Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches early American and Atlantic history. He has written extensively on the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland and the early Irish disapora.

5. Shannon Downey, Badass Crossstitch

Irish-American Shannon is based in Chicago and is known for her “craftivism,” or making embroidered art with a political message. 2017 saw her embroidered response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal go viral.

The Stage slane-logo

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In association with Slane Irish Whiskey

1. Crackskull Row - Origin's 1st Irish Theatre Festival, 

Though raised from age 8 in Allentown, Pa., playwright Honor Molloy’s earlier years in the Dublin of her birth inspires much of her literary output, including this breakout hit for the world’s only festival – now in its 10th year – dedicated to the work of Irish playwrights. Produced by The Cell theater. 

2. The Homeplace - Irish Repertory Theatre

This venerable Irish institution has been recently renovated and is at the very heart of the New York theater scene. Brian Friel’s last play is set in the mythical Ballybeg against the backdrop of real events in 1878 Ireland – the rise of the Home Rule movement and a popular revolt against the land-owning gentry. 

3. Puttin’ on Her Shorts - Poor Mouth Theatre Company, Bronx

The dynamic Bronx-based theater company directed by Don Creedon responded early in 2017 to the Waking the Feminists movement of the previous year with a highly enjoyable festival of six original short plays by New York-based playwrights Brona Crehan, Honor Molloy, Maeve Price, Olivia Reevell, Allison Sylvia and Amy E. Witting.

4. Celtic Jazz Tryst - Darrah Carr Dance

Darrah Carr’s championship Irish dancers married their trademark style with that of jazz vocalist Tara O’Grady and her Black Velvet Band for an exuberant show at the Irish Arts Center that drew on a number of genres and musical influences. Guest choreographer Seán Curran was involved in the fun, too, recalling the romance of the Big Band Era.

5. Beckett Women: Ceremonies of Departure - The Poets' Theatre

Four powerful short plays by the 1969 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Samuel Beckett were performed in a program at Farkas Hall, Harvard University, in 2015 and in recent months, as part of the Boston-Belfast Sister Cities Agreement, were brought across the Atlantic -- specifically to The MAC in Belfast, which visiting director Bob Scanlan has described as a “magical facility.”

The Written Word

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1. ‘Tender’ - Belinda McKeon

The County Longford-born writer’s beautifully written second novel is about being young and in love in Dublin, obsession, desire, art and friendship.

2. ‘Ashes of Fiery Weather’ - Kathleen Donohoe

The Brooklynite's debut — an authentic and gripping novel about the lives of six generations of women from firefighters’ families up through the era of 9/11 — reveals her to be a natural storyteller.

3. ‘The Immortal Irishman’ - Timothy Egan

At the center of the sweeping, epic narrative in the New York Times columnist's eighth work of non-fiction is Thomas Francis Meagher, the Irish revolutionary who became a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and then acting governor of Montana Territory before his death at age 43.

4. ‘9th Annual Poetry Fest’ – Irish Arts Center, NYC

Cookstown, Co. Tyrone-born poet and novelist Nick Laird, curating for the 2nd year, said that in an era of demagoguery “to read poetry, to come and hear poetry is to return to a space of complexity, of second thoughts, of third thoughts, of ambiguity and of empathy.”

5. ‘End of Outrage’ – Breandán Mac Suibhne

This extraordinary work of history examines the massive changes wrought by the Famine in the scholar’s own part of Donegal by focusing on how tensions arose within the Molly Maguires in the 1850s about how to respond in a transformed world.

The Screen tg4-logo

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In association with TG4

1. ‘No Stone Unturned’ – Alex Gibney

Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney turns his lens in this film to collusion by state forces in the Loughinisland massacre when six men watching the 1994 World Cup in a rural Irish pub were shot dead by a masked gunman.

2. Irish Screen America

Niall McKay and his team work tirelessly to promote the best of Irish film talent both living and working in the US and Ireland.

3. ‘Emerald City’ - Colin Broderick

Colin Broderick’s debut feature film finds a hard-working and hard-partying crew of Irish construction workers in New York who left Ireland in an era of closeted oppression and sectarian violence. These lovable, but no longer fresh-faced rogues, have spent their adult lives self-medicating against a past that is starting to catch up with them

4. ‘Rocky Ros Muc’ – Michael Fanning and Máire Breathnach

A documentary about emigration, hardship, and dedication to a dream. Rocky Ros Muc tells the story of trailblazing boxer Sean Mannion, who went from growing up in an Irish-speaking village in Connemara in the 1970s to eventually competing for the World Boxing Association title in Madison Square Garden.

5. ‘SMILF’ - Frankie Shaw

Irish American Boston native Frankie Shaw created and stars in this Showtime series about a smart, scrappy, young single mother in South Boston and the unconventional but very real network of family and friends who help and hinder her as she tries to make it work.

Visual Arts

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1. New York Artwork – Solus (Graffiti Artist)

You never, ever go down without a fight is the credo of Solus, the Dublin-based street artist who has left his mark in indelible mark in Brooklyn through his work with the barnstorming Bushwick Collective.

2. ‘Here We Are’ - Oliver Jeffers (Author and Illustrator)

Loved and revered in New York and Belfast, irrepressible artist Oliver Jeffers creates sublime works of art and then destroys them — but in that moment of destruction is born an experience and artwork more beautiful still. The world-renowned children's author and illustrator has recently released his latest book, 'Here We Are', a tender introduction to the world for his newborn son.

3. Alexander and Bonin Exhibition – John Ahearn (Artist & Sculptor)

It doesn’t get more inclusive than this: New York’s John Ahearn makes plaster casts of his collaborating subjects and displays these deeply personal artworks in community settings.

4. MoMA PS1 Exhibition - Cathy Wilkes (Artist & Sculptor)

Turner Prize nominee Cathy Wilkes creates anonymous, life-size sculptures which trigger deep responses of empathy and emotion from her global audiences.

5. ‘Spitting Image’ series - Eva O’Leary (Photographer)

Honest and uncompromising, Eva O’Leary turns the spotlight on young women’s images of themselves in an era of fake news and false photos.

Fashion & Design aihs-logo

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In association with The American Irish Historical Society 

1. Don O’Neill - THEIA COUTURE

Don, a native of County Kerry, has been working in New York fashion for the past 20 years His label THEIA launched in stores in Fall 2009 and is currently sold in over 350 stores globally including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and fine specialty stores. Don’s designs have graced many a red carpet, with celebrity fans including Amy Poehler, Kendal Jenner, and Oprah Winfrey.

2. Margaret Molloy - #WearingIrish

In March 2016, Margaret Molloy started the #WearingIrish campaign, championing the work of Irish designers and giving Irish fashion the visibility it deserves. The initiative has blossomed and Margaret has since launched a comprehensive directory of Irish designers and continues to support Irish designers wishing to gain exposure in the US

3. Clodagh – Interior Design

Born and raised in the tiny town of Cong, Co. Mayo, Clodagh has traveled a long way to arrive where she is today, in more ways than one. Since arriving in New York almost 25 years ago, Clodagh has worked to become a powerhouse in the fields of architecture, interiors, and furniture design. Her Greenwich Village studio has been the birthplace of some of the most innovative trends in home designs today.

4. Ciaran McGuigan and Shane McGuigan – Orior New York

Building on Orior—the biggest furniture manufacturer in Ireland, based in Newry - founded in the early 1980s by Brian and Rosemary McGuigan, their son Ciaran McGuigan and his cousin Shane launched Orior New York in 2015, a 5,000-square-foot design-studio-meets-retail-space in the heart of Williamsburg. Recent commercial projects taken on by Orior include James Morrissey’s new 70s-style “lifestyle” space VNYL in the East Village, and making furniture for Jamie Oliver’s restaurants in London and his new hotel in Amsterdam.

Irish American Centers and Festivals feile-logo

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In association with Féile an Phobail 30 Year Anniversary

1. ‘Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger' - Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University

Ambitious and unprecedented; a bold plan to bring the greatest collection of artworks in the world relating to Ireland back home for exhibitions in Dublin, Cork, and Derry.

2. Irish American Heritage Museum, Albany

At the heart of the state capital, this bustling museum flies the flag for Ireland and Irish America with its packed program of activities, book launches, exhibitions, film-showings, and celebrations.

3. Peace and Reconciliation - the 20th Anniversary Good Friday Agreement – Irish Cultural Center McClelland Library, Phoenix, Arizona

An enduring legacy of the life and contribution of Arizona’s most famous Irishman Norm McClelland (who passed away in July 2017), this unique center and library is host to Derry mural artists healing the wounds of the past with outstanding street art.

4. Irish Arts & Writers Festival, Los Gatos & San Francisco, California

Paying homage to Ireland’s and Irish America’s talented authors, this seminal and fun-filled festival is opening a new chapter in the Irish story on the west coast.

5. The Celtic Junction Arts Center and Eoin McKiernan Library, Minnesota

As long as the doors of this formidable arts center remain open, we can surely say that spirit of famed cultural pioneer and transatlantic bridge-builder Eoin McKiernan lives gloriously on.

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