Arts groups dismayed by sale plan


ARTS groups in Galway have reacted with dismay following confirmation that part of Galway Arts Centre is to be sold. The performance space at Nuns Island, a hall owned by the Presbyterian Church, is to be sold.

The venue was the focal point for Cuirt, the city's literary festival, and for events associated with Galway Arts Festival. It was also widely used throughout the year for theatre, readings and exhibitions, and acted as a base for Galway Youth Theatre.

The Presbyterian Church, which had leased the property to Galway Arts Centre for the past 14 years, plans to sell it by the end of the year and has served notice to quit.

Despite the opening of Galway's Town Hall Theatre and the imminent opening of the Black Box, a performance venue catering for up to 600 people, the loss of the Nuns Island venue would be a serious blow to the thriving arts community.

"It could be argued that the Town Hall Theatre is there now, but this is a smaller and more flexible venue," said Galway Arts Centre's chairwoman, Ms Pat O'Brien.

She said yesterday that Galway Arts Centre intended to mount a campaign to ensure at the very least that "a historic building remains in the service of the community".