As part of Bealtaine Festival 2015, Gallery 75 O’Connell Street saw the launch of its last ever Bealtaine Festival Art Exhibition which celebrated creativity from six art groups across Limerick.
Learners from Our Lady of Lourdes, Temperance Hall, Limerick Social Services Centre, St. John’s parish, Northside FRC and newcomers Clarina Ballybrown were all involved in the event that succeeded in bringing together people from across the city.
The exhibition was loosely themed around “A Happy Place” for each individual involved and resulted in a broad variety of paintings including visions from the sea and nature.
Community Education Facilitator Mary Flannery from the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB) opened the event and said; “the beauty is that they collaborate around this exhibition every year and the really nice thing this year is that there’s a new group from Clarina, Ballybrown who have come in so it is a community education initiative. The real thing about community education for adults is not only are they learning from the tutor but they are learning from each other. They are bringing lots of life experience and you can see here the skill is huge and the benefit of people to coming to a non-formal education class is huge on a social level”.
Mrs. Flannery extended her congratulations to those involved in the exhibition; “It is a real pleasure at the end of the academic year to come to events like this where the workmanship, skill and the camaraderie of the groups who come together for community education classes whether it’s art, crafts, drama, computers, across the city I am always struck by the social element of it which is such an important part and the way people help each other.”
Mrs. Flannery explained how she was talking to John Dillon, an organiser of the exhibition, who explained to her that some of these people would be in “far poorer spaces” if they didn’t have a community education class to come to each week.
Tutor Paul Quane said the annual Active Retirement Art Exhibition which is held each year as part of the Bealtaine Festival in May; “involves various groups and different communities throughout the city, and this exhibition is a way of getting them all together.”
Mr. Quane also explained that 2015 is the last year the exhibition would be held in Gallery 75 as the gallery is closing at the end of the month. While Mr. Quane expressed that this was a sad occasion, he remained optimistic for the future of the annual Bealtaine Festival art exhibition; “It is a sad occasion, it is always sad to see a gallery, especially such a prestigious gallery like this which has been showing works of such renowned artists down through the years coming to an end. But who knows it may not be the end, I am sure there is something round the bend, up the road, some place for us, that we will find a home for hosting many exhibitions and hopefully we will have premises for to host our annual Bealtaine Exhibition again this time next year.”
Talking to Helen Benson who took part in the classes and whose work was displayed at the exhibition she said; “I just love it, I love the art and to play with colours is gorgeous and then coming to see them all finished is absolutely beautiful. It is relaxing and it changes your outlook sometimes in life, it surprises me sometimes. Paul is wonderful he has great patience, we are all mad about him.”
Another lady Joan O’Doherty whose work was being displayed added; “I love coming to the exhibition every year, I love the classes, it is a lovely pastime and a great hobby.”
This fantastic artistic display is something which all those involved should be proud of and undoubtedly showcases the talent and creativity that comes as one ages and progresses through life.
Photos by Billy Butler for I Love Limerick 2015. All Rights Reserved.