ONE of Limerick’s most loved art galleries and studios is to close its doors at the end of this month.
Gallery 75 on O’Connell Street, which has been open for 21 years, will close on May 31 it has been announced, after one final exhibition.
Paul Quane, an artist and art teacher associated with the gallery, said its closure is due to myriad reasons, including “the downturn in the art market” and describes its closure as a “shame”.
Its final exhibition, as part of Bealtaine, will be launched this Thursday, May 21 at 3pm.
Roger McCarthy, one of the founder members of Gallery 75 when it was established in 1994, said the basement gallery showed the work of many of Ireland’s great artists and was “a great asset to Limerick city”.
He founded the gallery alongside fellow artists Tom Greaney, Dr Andy McCarthy, and Pat McKenna, and it has exhibited the work of many well-known artists including John Shinnors, and Thomas Ryan RHA, among others.
“When it started it was extremely successful in those buoyant years, but after the Celtic Tiger collapse the art world changed dramatically.
“It has been a wonderful place, and we’ve made wonderful friends there down through the years. Some of our pupils have stayed with us for 21 years, and others have gone on to open up their own galleries,” he told the Limerick Leader.
Roger, who hasn’t been involved in the management of the gallery for two years, said while it was run by two full-time teachers “the difficulty is in holding on to and attracting new pupils”.
“We got nothing from the Arts Council or anyone else to support us. We would have loved if we got something to keep the show on the road. It really was the first gallery in Limerick run by the artists themselves,” he said.
“In addition to thanking the pupils who stayed with us over the years, the Limerick public have been wonderfully supportive of us.”
He added that it had links with many prestigious galleries throughout the country, and noted that the Watercolour Society of Ireland, “which rarely goes outside of Dublin, exhibited with us for two years.”
Roger is now seeking other locations in the city to continue teaching art classes.
The gallery had been renting the premises and it is understood that the building may be put up for sale.
He said a walking group, which often travels to Cinque Terre in north west Italy and the Camino Way, has also sprung up out of the club.