Press & media

New Esker Arts Centre set to open in April, Offaly Independent

March 27, 2023
Share
Building
The High Street building where Esker Arts Centre will be located, pictured last autumn, Offaly County Council Arts Office/Offaly Independent.

The exhibition, featuring up to 40 paintings, has been described as “one of the finest collections of Irish visual art” by the Artistic Director of Esker Arts, Sean Walsh, and will run until the end of May.

Mr Walsh, who was appointed as Artistic Director of the arts centre last October, conceded that a series of setbacks resulted in the official opening being delayed. “We had hoped to open before Christmas, but as with many of these types of projects, it is the final stage of the fit out that the most delays can be experienced.”

He cited technical problems, delays in lighting/sound equipment and supply chain issues as being the main reasons for the delayed opening. “In particular, we got caught up in the international logistics logjam in terms of items for the final fit-out, but thankfully that seems to have sorted itself out, so we are putting the finishing touches to the project at this stage.”

The Artistic Director said the art exhibition, which will be free to members of the public, will take up the two available gallery spaces in the new building, and will be followed by a full programme of exciting events which is currently being finalised.

"The exhibition, featuring up to 40 paintings, has been described as 'one of the finest collections of Irish visual art' by the Artistic Director of Esker Arts, Sean Walsh, and will run until the end of May."

Tullamore Musical Society are due to stage their 2023 production of 'Michael Collins – A Musical Drama' in the new facility from April 29 to May 6.

The new arts centre for Tullamore came up for discussion at the January meeting of Offaly County Council this week during a detailed presentation on the Draft Arts Infrastructure Strategy by Arts Officer, Dr Sally O’Leary.

While acknowledging that the timing for the opening of Esker Arts Centre is “challenging” due to post-Covid considerations, the Arts Officer said the opening of this new facility has been “long anticipated locally and must be tapped into”.

She defined the location of the new facility on High Street as being “a strength” and pointed out that it has “a responsibility beyond Tullamore”. She also noted in her report the presence of a strong board and said this, along with strong staffing resources, would be “key from the outset”.

The report noted that Esker Arts can “learn from the mistakes of others” given that it is opening “many years after” other such centres and the context for arts centres has changed in the intervening years. This will result in it having to “define a new approach and embrace the cultural potential of the Midlands”.

Dr O’Leary emphasised that “first impressions are key” when it comes to Esker Arts, and the emphasis must be placed on “a strong welcome, a sense of comfort and strong programming”.

Source: By Geraldine Grennan for Offaly Independent, published: Fri 20 Jan 2023, 10:19 AM

Link: New Esker Arts Centre set to open in April | Offaly Independent