TWO major new exhibitions will mark the opening of the new look Limerick City Gallery of Art, redeveloped recently to the tune of €1.7 million.
Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan TD will officially open the latest extension to the Carnegie building, which has played host to the municipal art gallery since 1948.
In fact, the city’s municipal art collection dates back to 1938, so this year marks the 75th year of the collection, which now numbers some 800 pieces and is worth around €5 million.
Some of the collection is to return to the gallery to tie in with its re-opening in the form of an exhibition entitled A Vivid Imagination, which saw 40 people invited to select pieces from the collection which engaged them.
The title references Sean Keating’s speech - who was closely established with the gallery’s foundation - in March 1948 to mark the gallery’s opening. The exhibition that hung in 1948 will also be reassembled to mark the anniversary.
The other exhibition is a contemporary one called Transitive Relationships, with national artists Bea McMahon and Mark O’Kelly invited to present their own work and choose the work of three emerging artists.
Limerick City Arts Officer Sheila Deegan, who has been involved in the running of the gallery for over two decades, explained that the overall idea is to “tell the story of how the permanent gallery for Limerick came about”.
“The idea is that this would show you the collection in its best light,” she explained. “So there is the 1948 collection, then the response to the collection is ‘A Vivid Imagination’ and the third one is the contemporary works. There are three elements in what is a dual exhibition.”
The premises has been expanded to include a cafe, an educational space and a purpose built art storage which will properly house the gallery’s collection and secure its long term future.
The launch of the exhibitions and new building takes place on January 16 at 5pm.