The Courthouse Gallery & Studios is located in Ennistymon, Co Clare, and is an integral part of the area’s cultural life. Housed in a Georgian courthouse building dating from 1790, The Courthouse was saved from demolition by local history group, The Old Ennistymon Society. It was first developed as artist studios in 1997, with support from the Arts Council. The late redevelopment was undertaken with the aid of Access Funding received from the then Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, and support from Clare County Council. Reopening in 2007 as The Courthouse Gallery & Studios, it is comprised of four artists’ studios, a workshop space, a sound recording studio, and two gallery spaces.
The building has been sympathetically converted by architect John O’Reilly and retains much of its original fabric as well as its original scale and form, with interesting architectural features such as the original Georgian windows and fanlight. It is regarded as an example of a successful conversion and reuse of a Georgian municipal building into a 21st-century arts space. The organisation’s board and curator aim to run the gallery to the highest standards, while maintaining its ethos of offering a space that is open to all, inclusive in its aims, programming, practice and audience.
In addition to a year-round programme of exhibitions, The Courthouse holds workshops, talks, seminars and classes, and regularly hosts events including music, performance, poetry readings and dance. Lectures on history, archaeology and folklore are held during the winter months in conjunction with The North Clare Heritage Society. In this way, the gallery attracts a truly varied audience.
The Courthouse Gallery & Studios is overseen by a voluntary management board. It is run by an enthusiastic team of professionals and volunteers. The Ennistymon Parish Community Employment Scheme supports the placement of our gallery assistants.
• Board Members: Mr Anthony Edwards, Treasurer, Ms Francis Madigan, Chairman: Ms Sara Foust, Ms Úna McCarthy, Mr Matthew Mitchell, Secretary/Administrator: Mrs Kathryn Comber
• Curator: Mr Simon Fennessy Corcoran
Kindly supported by the Arts Council, Clare Co. Council, LEADER and The Department of Culture, Heritage and The Gaeltacht.
Ennistymon Parish Community Employment Scheme supports the placement of our gallery assistants.
ENVIRONMENT: As the Gallery is located in a small rural town in the West of Ireland, it is subject to the seasonal nature of its location, with the bulk of visitors attending during the summer months. However, the Gallery is open for 12 months of the year, and hosts a vibrant programme of talks and classes during ‘term time’. The gallery aims to create a warm, welcoming environment for artist and our audiences to enjoy and learn. It is both an art space and a cultural community hub.
AMBITION: The Courthouse Gallery & Studios endeavours to provide excellent engagement opportunities for both artists and the public through its programme of exhibitions, upskilling workshops and auxiliary events. Over the past year, The Courthouse has continued to refine a sharper definition of its vision and prioritised a list of desired initiatives to develop the organisation.
• Instituting an International Artist’s Residency in order to develop unique networking opportunities for both the visiting artist and the host community, with opportunities for our community to be invigorated through an exchange of ideas and new ways of working (this inaugural AiR took place in June-July 2019)
• To provide improved education and professional development opportunities for professional and non-professional artists • To increase the organisation’s visibility locally, nationally & internationally
• To increase the organisation’s visibility among the area’s many visitors
• To further develop fruitful working relationships with communities of interest, including marginalised communities, those with disabilities, children, and the elderly
• To continue to provide an excellent venue for hosting cultural events and occasional special events
• To contribute to the town’s new Development Plan by offering an excellent cultural organisation for all that is free to enter
• Ensuring inclusion in the area’s tourism initiatives.
• Improving the organisation’s marketing and PR strategies through amplifying its website capabilities (a new website was launched in 2019), producing enhanced social media and an annual printed brochure
• The make the Red Couch Gallery into an experimental space for artists to develop, play and form new ways of working
• Maintain an ambitious International Residency (AiR) programme
• To support diverse artistic programmes including an annual commission of new performative visual arts to be exhibited in The Red Couch Gallery annually along with open call opportunities such as the summer exhibition to support artists in developing their artistic practice.
• To support artists and creatives to make a living