Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ormeau Baths Gallery reopening in June

Picture by Jonathan McHugh www.beepencil.comDriving up Ormeau Avenue last week, I went past the deserted Ormeau Baths Gallery and wondered what the future held for the red brick building. The answer was forthcoming sooner than I expected.

The good news is that the Ormeau Baths Gallery is set to reopen on Friday 9 June with a new exhibition. The Arts Council for Northern Ireland announced yesterday that they would directly manage the gallery while discussion within the wider arts community continued, with a view to putting an independent management team in place by the autumn.

The Arts Council’s Chief Executive, Roisín McDonough explained:
“The Arts Council made a promise to the public and the arts community to reopen the gallery as quickly as possible, following its closure by the previous management company. ... We will be managing the gallery directly, but only in the short term until an independent board can take over the reins. The Arts Council is currently engaged in discussions with representatives from the whole of the visual arts community and with potential partners about the future management of the Ormeau Baths Gallery ... We hope to be able to make an announcement on the future management structure by the autumn.”
Although the reopening will be welcomed, the future funding and management of the gallery will be crucial to the continued viability of the space, and the bad feeling and upset at the sudden closure at the end of February will take a long time to heal. Without a stable foundation, there is a high risk that the floors will empty and the lights will go out - maybe permanently - in the gallery.

The opening exhibit will be Collectors’ Collections, showing modern Irish and international art selected from private and public collections from across the island of Ireland. For those following the arts scene, you’ll be delighted to know that “paintings, drawings, sculptures and mixed-media works by some of the best artists in Ireland, including Basil Blackshaw, David Crone, Felim Egan, Alice Maher, Kathy Prendergast and Sean Scully” will be on show.

(The image above is linked to from the Irish Arts Review website. Unfortunately the artist’s name isn’t mentioned. Update - May 2009 - Jonathan McHugh)


John Self said...

This is interesting. I didn't even know the gallery had closed, and every Saturday my girlfriend and I would be in town and call past to see if it was open - the sign with opening hours was still up, and the website, for some reason, gave details of an exhibition running from April to June. Why on earth was it closed in the first place, when it was the only city centre gallery worth visiting? Anyway I look forward to the reopening, and maybe I'd better donate to the little box on the way in from now on...

Alan in Belfast said...

Jett Loe covered quite a lot of the story over on Letter to America - he was accidentally the last member of the public in the gallery.

Clicking on this link will give you a list of the posts describing the closure, public protests and an interview with the former gallery director.

There's also a summary of some of the stuff on Wikipedia -

Brabazon said...

"(The image above is linked to from the Irish Arts Review website. Unfortunately the artist’s name isn’t mentioned.)"

Try Jonathan McHugh

Alan in Belfast said...

Cheers ... three years later I guess that's the long tail in action!

Brabazon (Jonathan!) said...

Google never sleeps... ;)