01 Jul 2022

Laois Arthouse 10th birthday to be celebrated with poetry and new paintings

Laois Arthouse 10th birthday to be celebrated with poetry and new paintings

Over 60 artists who have been part of the story of Laois Arthouse will help to celebrate its upcoming 10th birthday.

The spacious arthouse which adjoins Stradbally's library will feature a special exhibition to be formally opened this Saturday, December 4, by Laois native Kevin Kavanagh of the reknowned Kevin Kavanagh Gallery Dublin.

It will show new work from artists including esteemed members of Aosdána, Rita Duffy, Martin Gale and Nick Miller (see image below). The artists were asked to create artworks in response to a specially commissioned poem, The Window Seat, by one of Ireland’s leading poets Pat Boran from Portlaoise.

Laois County Council is presenting In Trust. In Gratitude. In Hope. 10 Years at the Laois Arthouse. 

Below: A still from The Anatomy of Hope by Rita Duffy.

This 10th Anniversary exhibition will be a proud moment for the artists and Laois County Council to celebrate the achievement of 10 years of exhibition making, artist hosting and creative place making with the surrounding community of Stradbally, County Laois and beyond. 

The exhibition will be formally opened by Kevin Kavanagh on December 4 from 2pm. To adhere to COVID-19 guidelines surrounding large indoor gatherings, the event will be filmed and available to watch online for those who cannot attend in person. 

Cllr Conor Bergin, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council welcomes the exhibition and publication.

"Laois County Council is delighted to mark the tenth anniversary of the Laois Arthouse and thank the artists who have joined us in celebrating this important milestone," he said.

Below: A Blank Canvas to the Blaze, by Nick Miller

Muireann Ní Chonaill is Arts Officer with Laois County Council.

"It is a joy to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Laois Arthouse through the creativity of the artists who have so generously responded to the poem by Pat Boran. We welcome the artists who have come together to reflect on the Laois Arthouse and we look forward to what the future holds," she said.

Poet Pat Boran was one of the sitters for Nick Miller’s portrait project, at The Laois Arthouse, in 2015. 

"Most of the world’s religions honour seers, visionaries, people who have an apparent ability to see beyond the surface of things. But the gift of seeing what is right there in front of us, and of translating it into images that can be shared with others, is a no-less-wondrous talent. It is also a significant part of the exchange that makes us human. I congratulate Laois Arthouse on reaching its tenth birthday, and on providing for so many a welcome and welcoming space, an essential space, for both seeing and sharing," he said.

Below: Tea at the Window, by Martin Gale

The creative space that The Laois Arthouse has afforded artists and the community of Stradbally is a result of the strategic foresight and ongoing financial support of Laois County Council and funding partners The Arts Council and Creative Ireland. 

In all, The Laois Arthouse has hosted over 50 resident artists during its first 10 years and has presented 50 exhibitions. It has also supported emerging visual artists and designers through its residency awards to graduates in association with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland and the National College of Art & Design. 

The exhibition’s curator is Monica Flynn.

"I was honoured to have been invited to curate this exhibition in my home county.  Thinking about celebrating the achievements of The Laois Arthouse led me to think about the circumstances of artist’s studios and the gap between studio and opportunities to show work. Studio spaces are often far from ideal, thus spaces such as The Laois Arthouse offer a really precious opportunity for artists to make work away from the demands of the everyday and the opportunity for their work to meet its first audience and engage with new and stimulating places and communities.”

Running from Tuesday 7 December 2021 until Friday 25 March 2022, the exhibition will be open to the public to visit individually and in small, single-household groups from Tuesday-Friday 1pm to 4pm. Admission is free.

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