The official opening of The Arthouse Studios and Library, Stradbally County Laois took place on 13th May 2011. The opening was performed by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The development, costing in excess of €1.2million, commenced early in 2010 has been assisted with funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport Access 11 scheme. Construction work was completed in December 2010. The architects for the development were Milligan, Reside and Larkin and the contractor was L&M Keating.

Facilities include a community library, artists’ studios and living accommodation, an exhibition gallery, an equipped music rehearsal space, a kiln, and a garden space with a commissioned Percent for Art wall mounted artwork and a meeting room for the Laois Heritage Society. Under the percent for art scheme a stainless steel relief wall piece was created by Wicklow based artist James Hayes and it graces the garden wall of the studios. A limestone sculpture by Henk Korthuys was purchased for the front of the building, also funded by the Percent for Art scheme. This sculpture was made in Mc Keon’s Stone, Limestone Yard in Stradbally by Henk when he participated on their international artist visiting programme last Summer.

The new gallery programme is up and running and it showcases: drawing, painting and sculptural works in contemporary and traditional mediums. Visiting children are invited to complete arts worksheets to broaden their imaginations. Or visit the Arthouse garden and view the percent for art sculpture. For any info email artsoff@laoiscoco.ie In the process of setting up the artists’ studios there was wide consultation and links were formed with the Arts Council, NCAD and the Crafts Council of Ireland and other artists studios in Ireland and abroad. Links also have been made with the County Enterprise Board and other developmental agencies.

Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer is managing the studios. Muireann says, “It is a privilege to be associated with such an exciting venture and I look forward to the many new experiences it affords us to provide for artists and the general public, enriching their lives through the arts”