Launched in November 2012, Luan Gallery is situated in the renovated and extended Father Matthew Temperance Hall in Athlone. Once home to a theatre, cinema and a library, the historic building now houses the midlands first dedicated visual art gallery.
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Part of €17 Million Project
Creating the 630 square metre gallery involved the extensive refurbishment of the 19th century building and the construction of a new modern extension.
At a cost of €3.4 million, Carmel Duffy, Manager of Luan Gallery says the gallery wouldn’t exist without European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) of €1.45million through the BMW Region.
“Luan Gallery was built at a time when there was devastation in the Irish economy, we were lucky to get such significant funding from the ERDF. The remainder of the costs were covered by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht and Westmeath Local Authority.”
The gallery is the only municipal space catering to the needs of professional artists in Westmeath, Roscommon and Offaly. Ms. Duffy says: “The artistic community here is grateful to the ERDF for the support we received. The space gives local people an opportunity to see national and international work without the inconvenience of travelling to a national gallery in Dublin, or elsewhere.”
Having hosted over 50 exhibitions since its launch six years ago, the gallery attracts approximately 16,000 visitors a year and a new exhibition is installed every two months ensuring a varied and exciting visual arts and education programme.
“We aim to support and deliver as many training programmes to the local community as possible and we liaise with teachers and lecturers in the surrounding areas to organise regular school tours and visits from third level art students,” explains Ms. Duffy. “We also work closely with all sectors of the artistic community and include programme amateur slots occasionally in Luan Gallery and frequently host artists discussions and events to give visitors and artists an opportunity to have a voice and presence in the gallery.”