Wind energy exhibition a big hit in Bailieboro

Bailieborough Arts and Cultural Centre, which has been allocated €350,000 by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, was given high praise by Dr. Martin Mansergh, T.D., Minister of State with special responsibility for the arts at the launch of wind-themed art exhibition, Portmanteau. The exhibit comprised work by seven artists from the Cavan Visual Artists Network, was curated by Niamh Smyth of the arts and cultural centre and was officially opened by the minister in Knockbride House earlier this month. The minister described as 'fascinating' the exhibition, which traces the effect on the landscape of wind turbines, held in association with Airtricity and Cavan County Council. 'The year-long project endeavours to initiate dialogue and discourse on the recent influx of wind turbines to the county, and the impact that they have had on the Drumlin scattered hillsides of County Cavan,' explained the minister at the opening night. 'The two main wind farms are situated between Mountain lodge and Gartnaneane. The seven artists, Imelda Bradley, Seán Cassidy, Orla Galligan, Avril Gould, Miriam McDwyer, Carmel O"Callaghan and Freda Young, under the guidance and stewardship of Niamh Smyth, have attempted to provide us with an honest answer to questions posed regarding the existence of these structures.' Curator, Niamh, urged each of the artists to work in a different way than they would normally do and this has proved very positive and challenging for them. Imelda Bradley, Cavan, has focused on energy production created from wind and the changing face of the landscape. The theme was echoed by Avril Gould, Crossdoney, using sound and photography. Sean Cassidy, Ballyconnell, sculpted a piece with a political message, while Orla Galligan, Cavan, got to grips with the environmental damage that mass consumerism is causing to the air around us. Miriam McDwyer, Belturbet, focused on the destructive forces of wind such as the tornado which hit Bailieborough a few years ago. Carmel O"Callaghan used papier mache to make a comparison between nature and wind turbine engineering, while seed dispersal and renewal was the theme of the work by Freda Young, Killeshandra, using photography and mixed media work. Also during his visit to Knockbride House, Minister Mansergh recognised the achievement of children who earned their Leinster School Examination Certificates in Speech and Drama through the Bailieborough Arts and Cultural Centre. Minister Mansergh was impressed with the achievement of the students, who studied skills such as voice projection, spatial awareness, and improvisations. 'These subjects promote confidence and independence and encourage children to think for themselves, while also encouraging team-building skills,' he said. 'These are skills that will stand to them throughout their lives and serve to underline the importance of the arts within childhood. I congratulate, not only Niamh Smyth, their teacher, but equally the parents and other supporters who have contributed in large measure to the realisation of the achievements.' Describing Niamh as 'a true champion of the arts', the minister stated that the grant-aid to Bailieborough Arts and Cultural Centre under the ACCESS II Scheme was allocated in the context of the commitment of the Government to ensure that the arts and culture are well funded and placed at the centre of policy making in Ireland. Students of Knockbride East NS visited the exhibition in Knockbride House on Friday last before it finally closed to the public.