The Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny marks its fifth birthday this year with a series of exhibits that illustrate the broad reach the centre has achieved.
A specially organised group exhibition curated by centre director Shaun Hannigan to mark the anniversary will run from July 9th to Sept. 29th. The official opening of the exhibit is at 6 pm, Saturday, July 7th, and all are welcome.
“It’s like a potted history of the programmes here and in the old arts centre, and in Donegal as well,” he said. The show will also include such iconic Donegal artworks as “West End Village” by Tory artist James Dixon, and “Eddie Moore” by Derek Hill, both from the Glebe Gallery/OPW Collection. There will also be pieces associated with the county through collection or exhibition, such as “Puppy” by Jeff Coons, from the Donegal County Council art collection and “Dawn Raid” by Locky Morris, the creator of Letterkenny’s iconic Pole Star sculpture, who exhibited at last year’s Earagail Arts Festival.
Shaun was the first manager of the former arts centre, located in the Central Library in Letterkenny, and has been director of the new centre since it opened in 2007. The centre had opened only about a year before the recession hit. It’s not been easy, the director said.
“The quality of the work has never dropped,” Shaun said. Also in those years, the centre has worked to integrate themselves with the community, engaging in health-related projects, multi-culturalism and partnerships with community groups.
Partnership has always been part of the ethos of the centre, and “that type of partnership has gotten us through the difficulties of the recession,” Shaun said. “It’s the ‘silver lining’ in the recession, that community.”
There have been many highlights in the last five years, and the most recent was last week’s North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, held in Donegal and Derry. “It was one of the best things that ever happened in the North West culturally,” Shaun said.
He is also proud of the centre’s relationship with the Earagail Arts Festival. The centre’s facilities mean they can to everything from exhibits, to concerts, to film screenings, to programmes like the Earagail Arts Festival summer camp running there this week.
The challenge for the coming few years will be to keep going. “A lot of arts organisations, like a lot of other businesses, are going out of business,” Shaun said. The centre will work to put a structure in place so that they will be in a position to grow again when the opportunity arises, he said.
“It’s a phenomenal facility,” Shaun said. “It’s a real achievement for Donegal County Council.”
Other birthday exhibits coming up include a Family Hands-On Art Room, where visitors of all ages can make their own Donegal masterpiece using drawing, colour, collage or sculpture, completely free of charge; Selected Works by Paul Rooney, the artist and photographer who focuses on the constant change in Letterkenny; and RCC Live 2007-2012, an exhibition of John Soffe photographs of music concerts held at the centre over the past five years, including Earagail Arts Festival gigs.
The three exhibits run from July 9th to July 28th, from 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Friday; 1-5 pm Saturdays and Monday the 9th and 16th and Sunday the 15th.
For more information contact the centre at 074 9129186.