Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Historical information

Information on the Courthouse Studios and Gallery:

Ennistymon Courthouse Studios and Gallery, Parliament Street, Ennistymon, was officially opened by Sile de Valera, T.D. on Friday 30th March 2007.

Five artists studios, a sound recording studio and an art gallery are based in the newly renovated building.

Development of the facility has been a labour of love for the Old Ennistymon Society, a totally voluntary organisation, which has been working since 1992 to ensure that the old Courthouse building in Ennistymon would be preserved and developed as a true community resource. The society decided to develop the building as an arts facility, and in 1997 offered the building to a group of artists in the locality on a five-year lease at a peppercorn rent. This group, consisting of Deirdre O’Mahony, Fiona Woods, Jackie Askew and Veronica Nicholson, subsequently formed itself as the North Clare Artists Group and sought and received funding from the Arts Council under the Studios Conversion Scheme to create studio spaces for 5 artists in the building.

As this leasehold period was drawing to a close, the Old Ennistymon Society sought access funding from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands to further develop the building, backed by the County Council. In August of 2001, the society appointed John O’Reilly as its architect for the renewal project, and the fine building to be seen today is a testament to his skills and vision, and to the tenacity and vision of the founding members of the Old Ennistymon Society, who have laboured for many years to bring this project to its present stage.

Today the Courthouse is a hive of activity. An international film maker, a puppeteer, a watercolour artist, a ceramics artist, a landscape artist and a performance artist have taken up residence in the studios, following an open competitive interview process.

Some notable exhibitions have taken place in the gallery space, including those curated by Fiona Woods, the North Clare Visual Arts Officer. With what’s shaping up to be an exciting mix of local and national in a diverse multi-disciplinary programme for next year, artists across all disciplines will have exhibitions. Diverse cultural events including contemporary dance workshops and performances, samba band gig and poetry reading will also take place in the next few months. Suggestions aren always welcome for other creative events/workshops.

Sheena Meaghar

Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon

September 12- October 4

Clare – Voyance
Artist Sheena Meagher collects wordscapes and adds her own visions of the county.

This is a body of work focusing on the power of place and memories relating to County Clare. During the process of creating paintings and installations for this exhibition, ‘wordscapes’, or pictures painted with words were sought from a wide section of the Co. Clare community by artist Sheena Meagher.

Over one hundred people contributed powerful wordscapes that capture the musicality of the Clare voice, rich literary and musical traditions, the influences of landscape on people, and a vibrant sense of community. These, together with the original paintings and installations by the artist combine to evoke the rich tapestry of life found in Co. Clare.

Artists Statement;

As I have been coming to Lahinch since I was a small child, Co. Clare represented freedom and holidays. During these long, easy days anything could happen, any idea could occur to me. My paintings and installations celebrate particular moments from times enjoyed in Clare. My hope is that visitors to this exhibition will respond to my work and to the collected wordscapes by recalling their own times of freedom and inspiration.

About the Artist

Sheena Meagher worked as an architect in Dublin and Rome, receiving an award from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in 1993. Key to her philosophy was how we inhabit a place, and our impact on the environment. In 2002 she began a transition towards painting having worked with fresco in Venice, painting with rich earth pigments and lime mortars on historic buildings. She was introduced to Chinese painting techniques by Weimin He. Struck by the relative immediacy and creative freedom offered by the process she began a transition towards painting full time. Generous sweeps of colour to articulate detail can be accomplished by the same brush as it tapers from a full base to a fine tip. The distinctive and vibrant colour palate may be applied densely or in gentle translucent washes.

She continues to concern herself with the built and the natural environment; sense of place, atmosphere, movement and energy. Sheena now works and lives at the edge of the Atlantic having moved to live and work in Co. Clare.

Courthouse Gallery, Parliament Street, Ennistymon, Co. Clare

Opened Tuesday to Saturday, 12 to 5pm. 065 7071630 or