Market Place showcase planned in Clonmel

Ambitious plan of Arts Centre manager Cliona Maher

C Maher

Cliona Maher - new manager of South Tipperary Arts Centre

Ambitious plans for the promotion of the arts in this area have been drawn up by Cliona Maher, the new manager of the South Tipperary Arts Centre.

Cliona has returned to her native Clonmel after living in Lyon, France for the past 12 years.

A graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting with an MA in Drama Studies from UCD, and over 25 years experience as a theatre practitioner and arts project manager, she plans to host a range of arts activities to complement the existing visual arts programme.

Cliona is daughter of Kathleen and the late Seamus Maher, who was a pharmacist based in Clonmel's O'Connell Street for many years.

With outdoor concerts and lunchtime recitals planned for Clonmel, she says this summer will be a musical delight.

“We’re hoping to bridge the time between Junction Festival and Festival Cluain Meala", says Cliona. "There’s such a great buzz in the town for those two events and we want to help keep that spirit alive during the whole summer.”

The arts centre, based in Nelson Street in Clonmel, is planning ‘Start Together’ on Saturday September 2nd at Market Place. This will be an event for all local arts organisations to meet and showcase their work to the public.

“There are so many great organisations in Clonmel, providing excellent opportunities to engage with theatre, music and dance, as well as visual arts. We want to highlight the range of arts activities available to people living in Clonmel – the groups involved will be giving demonstrations and holding workshops, and we’ll also provide a stage for some showcases, and hopefully people will be inspired to try something new”.

Any groups interested in participating should contact Cliona at manager@southtippartscentre.ie or 052-6127877.

In the autumn the classes in drawing, acrylics, oils and watercolours will start up again, as will the children’s art classes. This year the Arts Centre will host weekend masterclasses by their tutors to expand the range of class on offer, as well as presenting a series of play-readings and talks in association with local groups.

Cliona is also planning to hold some weekend workshops focusing on illustration and animation for the international InkTober event. InkTober is a month-long drawing challenge for both pen-and-paper enthusiasts and digital drawers.

“We’ll have workshops, talks and screenings with events for kids, teenagers and adults. We’re very lucky to have LIT here at their Clonmel campus, and we hope to delve into the type of work that their students and former students are working on”.

In the gallery, the objective is to be a centre of excellence for the visual arts and to consciously expand the range and style of work on view.

“The consultation process last year with Catherine Marshall, the art writer and curator who’s the former Head of Collections at the IMMA, will bear fruition in terms of a new programming policy here. I’m very lucky that she’s agreed to mentor me and it’s a huge plus for the Arts Centre.

We want to bring different and exciting work here that people can engage with. It’s very important to me that there’s an outreach and education programme accompanying every exhibition, so that there are a number of different entry points for people.

We’ve redesigned the gallery space, moving away from the idea of a formal reception area and creating seats where you can meet and talk, maybe have a coffee. We want the arts centre to be a relaxed and welcoming place, whether you visit on your own, with friends, or with your kids. Everyone is invited to come and see us”.

The new look website will be unveiled shortly. In the meantime, the arts centre’s Facebook page is the place to go for the latest news and upcoming events.