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Open submission exhibition draws huge crowd

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Open submission exhibition draws huge crowd thumbnailArtist Frank Gallagher of High Street, Birr, enjoying the launch of the Visual Arts Trail in Birr Technology Centre with his wife Dympna. In the background is one of his paintings ‘Salthill Promenade’

A FANASTIC showcase of artistic talent was unveiled with over seventy pieces of work on display at the Open Submission exhibition, which is part of the Visual Arts Trail for the 49th Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival.

The exhibition was officially opened in the Birr Technology Centre on Friday last. This year, the work was selected by guest curator, David Rooney and drew huge interest from artists throughout Ireland.

Welcoming everyone to the event, Cyril Stanley, co-chair of Birr Vintage week, handed proceedings over to Janine Wilson, PRO and co-chairperson of the festival, who was delighted to see so many at the official opening.

Firstly, she thanked Shannon Commercial Properties for the use of the building where the exhibition is housed over two floors. "We have two floors of art work to entertain and absorb you over the next week.

It's wonderful to see your enthusiasm for the visual arts programme we have lined up this year. We are also very proud of the amount of events we have for you, from exhibitions like this one to masterclasses, poetry readings and art and craft workshops. We really have something for everyone this year and we do encourage you to try some of them if not all of them."

The open submission exhibition is only one of a large variety of exhibitions dotted throughout Birr as part of the overall visual arts trail, which features over 100 visiting and local artists, showcasing work in all media.

Having worked "tirelessly" over the past few months as the trail's curator, Frances Kawala was delighted to address the official opening and to thank everyone who supported it.

Firstly, she thanked Rowena Keaveny and her family, who made a "massive contribution and had done a huge amount of work" in putting the open submission exhibition together.

"We wouldn't be able to do this without the venue either," she continued as she thanked everyone who provided venues and equipment as well as those taking part in the forthcoming vintage festival.

Guest curator, David Rooney was next to take the floor and he extended a hearty congratulations to everyone, who entered the exhibition. "The reason why there's not more work on the walls is because the work was so good with the high end of the work at international standards. It was really special.

The standard of work was superb and you should all be very proud of it."

Offering some advice to artists, David pointed out as artists they shouldn't be afraid "to run with an idea. Technique is great but don't be afraid to communicate an idea and tackle bigger subjects," he said.

He also suggested maybe rather than submitting the maximum three or four pieces for the open submission exhibition, some artists would be better just putting in one of their best pieces.

Wishing everyone a "wonderful" vintage week, David complimented the town of Birr. "It's a great town. I have always admired it for its comfort in its sophistication. You are happy and are not afraid to celebrate the arts and all that it is.

This is important as sometimes in Ireland we are afraid to celebrate the arts and put our heads above the parapets."

Bringing the proceedings to an end, Cyril Staney asked everyone to enjoy the rest of Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival and to please come out and support the artists, the events and "all the work that has gone into the festival" over the last number of months.

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