Roches Street to become gallery as part of annual festival

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE countdown to the annual Roches Street Traders Art Festival has begun.

THE countdown to the annual Roches Street Traders Art Festival has begun.

For two weeks in September, a unique art exhibition will take place in Roches Street. Both established and up and coming artists will place some of their best works of art in display across the shop windows in the popular thoroughfare.

For the last ten years, artists have been contributing to the festival, which aims to raise money for Milford Hospice and another Limerick charity.

The premise is simple: if you like the look of a painting when window shopping, you can go into a shop, and make an offer for it. If it is accepted, the artist gets 75 pc of the proceeds, while the two charities - this year Milford Hospice and Pieta House - share the remainder. Over the past ten years, more than €100,000 has been raised for good causes. And the chairperson of the traders association Sheila Cusack of the Helene Modes fashion boutique hopes this year’s festival - slated for between September 12 and 24 - will raise €10,000.

“Everybody does their bit to make it happen every year. I think initially the reason for this was because we were told there was a lovely atmosphere in towns like Galway when they have arts festivals. We thought of using our shop fronts as art gallery, and that people could perhaps wander up and down the streets, and perhaps give a donation to the artists,” she explained.

This year, it is hoped the Pieta House suicide prevention centre, which has just opened in Dooradoyle, will be in for a windfall.

Speaking at the launch of the festival, which took place last week in Magners Bar, Phil Foley of Pieta House said more than 80 people have approached the charity for help since Finance Minister Michael Noonan opened the centre at the start of the year.

“The whole idea of Pieta House is the prevention of suicide. We try and help people focus on other options. It is all about compassion and sharing. All the services are professional, and we see people on a one to one basis. We provide 20 sessions free of charge, and the only way we can provide this is events like this,” she said. To get involved, or for more information, visit any of shops in Roches Street.