Dunamaise at ‘critical’ junction

THE board of the Dunamaise Arts Centre has commissioned key reviews of the centre, how it is run and how the board operates.

THE board of the Dunamaise Arts Centre has commissioned key reviews of the centre, how it is run and how the board operates.

This review comes at a time of transition for the arts centre, whose manager Louise Donlon left last March. The centre currently has an acting manager on a six month contract which will be finished this autumn. Speaking to the Leinster Express, chairman of the board Mr Louis Brennan said that now was the time to sit back and review the situation.

“The Dunamaise has been up and running for the past 13 years, and there has been quite a lot of consistency in relation to the management and in relation to board members. It was fitting that when Louise moved, that we have a strategic review, especially when we look at what we have achieved and the state the nation is in,” he said.

Mr Brennan said that this is a critical time for the arts centre and that the board wants to drive forward in a meaningful way. Two reviews have been completed, the first of which was done by Patricia Quinn, formerly of the Arts Council. This looked at the board, its governance and composition and how members are selected. “She also looked at how we do our business as a board, the use of sub committees and so on,” added Mr Brennan.

The second review was completed by Ronan Smith who has extensive experience of art centres throughout the country. Mr Smith looked at the operations management of the centre, as well as its role and function in community life as an arts centre. Mr Smith consulted with those directly involved with the centre, including staff and board members, as well as meeting clients of the centre and other stakeholders in the community.

“Louise finished in March and Roisin (McGarr, the centre’s acting manager) took over in April, and we have done the reviews in exceptionally quick time,” said Mr Brennan. “The board is dedicated to implementing the findings of the reviews as quickly as possible.” The board will be receiving the finished reviews in the coming weeks and will be hoping to place an advertisement for a new manager in September or October.

“We’re looking at all aspects of the review, we’re very fortunate here to have Louise as our manager for so long but both Louise and the centre needed a change. We want to move forward in a meaningful way. We have seen this challenge bordering on a crisis as a huge opportunity to deal with clients and the audience of the Dunamaise. We’re a voluntary group of people on the board and we’re very dedicated to ensuring we go in the right direction,” he said.