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.

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