Today, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht officially opened the Luan Gallery, in Athlone, Co Westmeath.
Luan Gallery is the first purpose built and modern visual gallery to be opened in the country in over three years. It was designed by Keith Williams Architects, who also designed the Wexford Opera House.
The refurbishment and extension, costing in excess of €3m commenced in 2010 with the assistance of capital funding of €650,000 from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s Access 11 scheme, €1.45m from the Border Midland & Western Regional Assembly and the balance provided by Athlone Town Council.
Speaking at the official opening, Minister Deenihan said “Over the years this historic building has served the people of Athlone and beyond in a number of ways since it was built in 1897 as a Temperance Hall. It has served as a cinema, a library and also as the Town Hall and has been the venue for many concerts and theatrical performances. It was here that one of Athlone’s most famous sons Count John McCormack gave some of his earliest concert performances. This stunningly designed gallery will serve to display the great wealth of artistic talent at national and international level and will allow the artists involved an opportunity to showcase their work. It will bring art closer to the local community.
The Minister concluded his address by saying “It is fitting that the inaugural exhibition here at the gallery features work from IMMA’s collection as part of its national programme. This is meeting one of the objectives of the Departments’ ACCESS scheme of bringing the arts to the regions of Ireland. I wish this facility and all the arts community here in the Midlands every success now and in the future. You certainly have the infrastructure now to foster the creative artists of tomorrow”
Creative Spark is a new purpose built Creative Community Hub, combining training and workspace facilities located in Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Louth Craftmark, initiated and led the unique Creative Spark project which was made possible with support and funding received from Enterprise Ireland, the International Fund for Ireland, Dundalk Credit Union, Dundalk Town Council, Louth County Enterprise Board, Oriel Developments, Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (Holistic & Concerto) and Create Louth.
Through its work with Louth County Enterprise Board, local practitioners and local development agencies, Louth Craftmark recognised the need for a dedicated creative training and workspace facility in Dundalk and Co. Louth. In consultation with the local authorities an ideal site was identified within the regeneration area of Muirhevnamor. Creative Spark now provides dedicated training and ‘learning lab’ facilities and affordable workspace with a focus on the development of the creative enterprise sector and the use of creative practice in this region.
The Creative Spark building houses 21 own door workspaces of varying size along with training and meeting facilities.
Louth Creative Community Hub has been developed with a focus on the development of the creative enterprise sector in this region and the use of creative practice to promote social engagement.
The Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme for organisations is now open for applications. The application process has been greatly simplified for clients this year, following a sector-wide consultation and review undertaken by the Community Arts Partnership. Deadline: 4pm on Thursday 6th December 2012. For more info see: www.artscouncil-ni.org/award/asop.htm
In addition, The Small Grants programme, offering funding to voluntary and community groups to involve people in professionally-led arts projects, re-opens for applications later this month. Please check website for details.
The Arts Council recently announced details of its annual funding allocation for arts organisations across Northern Ireland. The Arts Council is awarding £13.3 million to 93 core arts organisations to cover their year-round running and programming costs. For the first time, organisations have been able to apply in advance for up to three years of funding, following changes introduced by the Arts Council to their Annual Funding Programme. The move from one-year to three-year funding for the arts is in direct response to the wider economic climate, as it introduces a greater degree of stability and enables local venues, galleries, theatre companies, community arts and other front line arts organisations to plan ahead with greater confidence. The list of awardees can be found here: www.artscouncil-ni.org/news/2012/new20032012c.html