Deenihan Opens refurbished and extended Luan Gallery, Athlone.

Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will this afternoon, Thursday 29 November 2012 perform the official opening of Luan Gallery, in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Luan Gallery is the first purpose built and modern visual gallery to be opened in the country in over three years. The refurbishment and extension, costing in excess of €3m commenced in 2010 with the assistance of capital funding of €650,000 from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s Access 11 scheme, €1.45m from the Border Midland & Western Regional Assembly and the balance provided by Athlone Town Council.

Speaking at the official opening, Minister Deenihan said “Over the years this historic building has served the people of Athlone and beyond in a number of ways since it was built in 1897 as a Temperance Hall. It has served as a cinema, a library and also as the Town Hall and has been the venue for many concerts and theatrical performances. It was here that one of Athlone’s most famous sons Count John McCormack gave some of his earliest concert performances. This stunningly designed gallery will serve to display the great wealth of artistic talent at national and international level and will allow the artists involved an opportunity to showcase their work. It will bring art closer to the local community.

The Minister concluded his address by saying “It is fitting that the inaugural exhibition here at the gallery features work from IMMA’s collection as part of its national programme. This is meeting one of the objectives of the Departments’ ACCESS scheme of bringing the arts to the regions of Ireland. I wish this facility and all the arts community here in the Midlands every success now and in the future. You certainly have the infrastructure now to foster the creative artists of tomorrow”