01/10/2012 – Deenihan Launches Westport Arts Festival
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will today, Monday 1st October, officially open the Westport Arts Festival with an exhibition of works in mixed media by the Greenway Artists Initiative.
The Westport Arts Festival (WAF), now in its 37th year, continues to be an important annual event in Westport. Due to the tireless work of the current committee, made up entirely of volunteers, this vibrant and exceptionally well run festival is one of the jewels in the Irish cultural calendar. This year the WAF offers a diverse line-up of acts and events from Ireland and further afield including music, visual arts, film, theatre, literature and dance.
Commenting on the launch, Minister Deenihan said “It is really encouraging to see that the volunteers committee who organise the Westport Arts Festival have such a strong desire to enrich and broaden the local community’s experience of, and involvement in, the arts. I know that they work hard to promote local artists and musicians by offering them an environment which is conducive to supporting their work. Through such engagement with local arts groups, the festival has become part and parcel of the fabric of the local community.”
The Exhibition being opened in the Greenway Gallery comprises the works of the Greenway Artists Initiative (GAI), a non-profit organisation with work by 90 local artists involved in the GAI on show including paintings, prints, ceramics and sculpture.
Minister Deenihan continued “Over the course of the history of the Westport Arts Festival both the artists and existing community have worked together to ensure that this festival is a success, for those who are exhibiting and for the ancillary business which a festival like this generates. It has been a win win event for all involved. Each year the festival enjoys a reputation for quality in excellence and a year on year growth in audience numbers. With Westport now recognised as ‘the best place to live in Ireland ‘ I have no doubt that this additional accolade will see many more visitors to the festival this year. ”
Minister Deenihan added “I am delighted to be launching this exhibition here in this excellent newly acquired gallery and art studio. This space will be used as an art gallery for members of the GAI and also as an arts education hub providing a packed programme of art classes for both adults and children throughout the year.”