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)