Artists Roscommon

Working Artists Roscommon celebrate 25th Anniversary

Artists Roscommon

Working Artists Roscommon (WAR) are celebrating 25 years in existence and to mark the occasion they are hosting an exhibition,in conjunction with Roscommon Lamb Festival, in Harrison Court, Roscommon town from April 28th to May 1st.

The exhibition will be opened on 28th April at 6.30pm by Arthur Duignan CREATE, who will also officially launch the Working Artists Roscommon website –
Artists exhibiting are Frances Crowe, Joe Cunniffe, Honor Fitzgerald, Anne Rigney, Dympna Molloy and Noel Molloy, who will also perform “Eireanach, Should I Cut the Red or Blue Wire”. The exhibition runs until May 1st and will be open daily from 12.00pm to 5.00pm. All are welcome.

The exhibition is supported by Roscommon Lamb Festival, the Roscommon Arts Office Community Groups and 1916 Fund and Sean Doyle & Sons. The launch reception is sponsored by Brian Mugan of JJ Harlows Bar, Carryout and John Finn Electrical.

Working Artists Roscommon began life in 1990 with a notice being placed in the local media seeking interest in the possibility of forming a support group for the Arts. A meeting was held and a number of Artists attended. All involved at that stage were in favour of forming the group and after much discussion on the aims proposed and deciding that the name should reflect the Artists situation of striving to create work as against a general attitude that Artists were hobbyists WORKING ARTISTS ROSCOMMON was born.

Further meetings were held and the criteria used by The Artists Association of Ireland and The Sculpture Society of Ireland for membership was adapted by the group to qualify as members. A chairman , administrator, secretary and treasurer were elected.

It was decided to seek venues for exhibitions, workshops and live events in galleries and alternative spaces. Collaborations with festivals and community events took place. It was decided on hearing about a vacant building in Roscommon town to apply to Roscommon County Council for the use of the building, Edenville House, as studio spaces and workshop facilities. Roscommon County Council were the first nationally to support and maintain studios for an artists group. WAR group had to provide public liability insurance and pay a peppercorn rent, the County Council also provided free electricity and heating. As part of the original proposal for the building, which was at first a mounted Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks and the oldest building in town 1702, WAR proposed to renovate and change the building into a community Art Centre and made an application in collaboration with Roscommon County Council to the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht and the Minister for Arts Michael D. Higgins TD.
WAR / Roscommon County Council were successful and received £250,000 punts to begin work on the building. Then when an Arts Officer was appointed Roscommon Arts Office took over the Arts Centre proposal, as financially it was not possible for WAR, and for the second stage application a green field site was identified and a new building was to become Roscommon Arts Centre, while WAR retained the studios.

Over the years many projects took place in Edenville House most notably the Crossroads Symposium ’95, involving national and international artists, which was organised by Noel Molloy and supported by WAR.

Beside exhibitions that toured nationally WAR, through international connections from individual members, events and exhibitions were held in Germany, Poland and Scotland and WAR hosted events locally for some of those international artists. While WAR is still active, individual members are pursuing personal projects nationally and internationally and it is envisaged that in the future WAR will engage in group projects starting with an exhibition to launch this website of WAR’s achievements.

The aims of the organisation are to support the members in the group and individual projects, to promote the Arts in the midlands by bringing contemporary Art to various events / venues where accessibility is paramount, To initiate and support community groups and schools projects through workshops, teaching , demonstrations, exhibitions and live events.