The official opening of the WLD funded new Gorey School of Art (GSA) building took place on Friday June 3rd. The cutting of the ribbon performed by local Artist Conor McDonald coincided with the highly impressive End of Year Exhibition by present students. The new centre of creative excellence developed by Gorey Educational Trust Ltd marks a major turning point in the future development of creative education in the region.

Paul Carter, Director of GSA, Tom Bermingham, WLD, Cllr Malcolm Byrne, Conor McDonald, Artist in Residence, GSA.
Paul Carter, Director of GSA, Tom Bermingham, WLD, Cllr Malcolm Byrne, Conor McDonald, Artist in Residence, GSA.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Paul Carter, Director of GSA outlined that Gorey is synonymous with the visual arts. Paul used the occasion to credit the late Paul Funge for pioneering Ireland’s first regional arts centre in Gorey in the late ’60s. He went on to say “This legacy continues to shape the development of the visual arts infrastructure in Gorey today and the new building at Gorey School of Art is a fitting example. Paul Funge believed deeply in the benefits of exposing a rural community to the contemporary visual arts and this new facility gives Gorey an elegant and permanent platform for doing so. The development and realisation of this project has highlighted the intense support that Gorey possess for the visual arts. With a project cost of almost €240,000, this was a hugely ambitious undertaking for a small voluntary group of local people”.

Paul thanked the Board of Gorey Educational Trust Ltd to include Nicholas Sweetman, Cicely Roche, Kevin O’Doherty, Ronnie McCormick, Michael Finn, Eamonn Carter, Malcolm Byrne, Geraine O’Loughlin, Ann Myler and all previous board members for their generosity, resilience and commitment to this project. Paul also expressed his thanks to the Board of Wexford Local Development for their contribution of €150,000 which gave the project the start it needed to succeed.

The new Gorey School of Art Centre of Excellence
The new Gorey School of Art Centre of Excellence

Speaking on behalf of Wexford Local Development, Tom Bermingham said that when he first met with Paul Carter and Nicholas Sweetman in March 2012, they outlined their wish to develop a new purpose built centre to cater for the vibrant creative community in North Wexford. They outlined that the centre would provide a missing anchor for artistic activities in the area. Tom outlined that WLD were delighted to have been able to provide LEADER funding of €150,000 to enable this building to be developed.

Tom congratulated Paul Carter and the enthusiastic, hard-working directors for their vision and determination to develop this modern, purpose built centre ensuring that Gorey remains to the forefront in visual arts in Ireland. Tom went on to say that all concerned can be rightly proud that Gorey now certainly has that anchor for artistic activities and current and future generations of the area now have a valuable community resource on their doorstep.

Conor McDonald, Artist in Residence cutting the ribbon
Conor McDonald, Artist in Residence cutting the ribbon

Nicholas Sweetman, chairperson of Gorey Educational Trust Ltd expressed his delight that the project had come to fruition and thanked all those who played a part in making it happen. Meanwhile, Michael Finn, Principal of nearby Gorey Community School complimented Paul Carter and all concerned for developing this valuable resource for the artistic community of North Wexford.

Sample of art work on display at GSA
Sample of art work on display at GSA