Workers are busy in the chapel in Macroom’s former Mercy Convent as preparations are ramped up for the opening of the town’s first School of Art by the end of September.
And according to Brian Crotty, the artist and teacher who is behind the venture, the hope is that the centre will be a ray of light during what has been a very stressful time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An experienced teacher and arts professional, Brian married a woman from Inchageela and has seen a gap in the provision for arts education in the mid Cork area which he intends to fill with the Chapel Hill School of Art.
“This is the first phase - my final plan is that there should be a full arts centre here whenever that might be,” he said.
“Macroom deserves a first class arts centre.”
He pointed to the many artists working in the mid Cork area whose work could be exhibited in such an arts centre when it might be built.
While work is going to start by year end or early in 2021 on the Briery Gap Theatre, what Brian envisages and hopes will follow, an arts centre of the scale of Skibereen’s Uilinn Arts Centre, would complement the Briery Gap which will be focused on the performing arts.
In the meantime, work is ongoing at the Chapel Hill School of Art in time for an open day on August 29 when those interested in getting behind the canvas will have an opportunity to come and meet the teachers and see what they might be interested in.
Teachers will be recognised local artists who have teaching experience. They will be Garda vetted and in full compliance with all relevant regulations.
Classes will be held in the evening and during the day and will be aimed at adults, children and infants.
Brian feels it’s important that artists, who don’t normally get plaudits, are supported in their own locality.
“Four generations went to this school - it has a history and now we’re creating a new history.”