In 2019 Ireland’s oldest regional arts centre needed support to develop for the new decade ahead. Wexford Local Development Company through the LEADER Programme and Clann Credo – Community Loan Finance were at hand to provide the support and finance needed to provide a training and mentoring programme for young people in visual art techniques. Investment was also required to purchase equipment including speaker system tops a bass bundle and a sound desk with 16 channels and a laser printer.
Wexford Arts Centre was established in 1974 and is the longest running regional arts centre in the Country. The centre is located in the listed 1776 Cornmarket building in Wexford town and boasts a theatre, exhibition space, café, multi-purpose rooms, offices, and a theatre bar.
Irish Local Development Network represents Irelands 49 Local Development Companies (LDCs) including 35 members who deliver the LEADER Programme nationwide. Since its launch in 1991, the LEADER programme has helped rural communities across the European Union to actively engage and to direct the local development of their area, through community-led local development.
ILDN member LDC Wexford Local Development (WLD) deliver a range of interlinked programmes on behalf of local and national Government to address the needs of individuals and communities across the life cycle within County Wexford. WLD are a community based organisation committed to making a positive impact across the county by promoting employment, inclusion, supporting enterprise and addressing inequality. Wexford Local Development is funded by a number of Government agencies and Departments to deliver a range of programmes which address unemployment, educational disadvantaged, community development in areas of socio-economic disadvantage, rural development, enterprise development, improve energy efficiency amongst low income households, and tackle substance misuse and criminal behaviour.
Some of the key activities carried out by Wexford Arts centre include:
- Contemporary art exhibitions with educational free talks for the public
- Workshops for all ages for toddlers and parents, school children, and adults
- Theatre, music, comedy, and dance with after-school programmes
- Subsidised rental rates for various clubs in the county, including Picture House film Club, Occupational Therapy Group and Wexford Life Drawing Group
- Living Arts – a visual arts education in schools
- The delivery of exhibitions in Wexford County Council County Hall
- The presentation of an Emerging Visual Artist Award each year
- Management of the Presentation Arts Centre in Enniscorthy
- Support of an offsite programme in varied locations countywide
- Promotion of Wexford arts and culture on a local, national and international level
The variety of programmes and acts managed by this Arts organisation is commendable. The group contributes greatly to the Artistic fabric of Wexford Town. Commenting on the projects supported by LEADER & Clann Credo, Elizabeth Whyte, Executive Director, Wexford Arts Centre said; “we are very thankful to Clann Credo for their long-term loan support which has taken significant pressure off our cash flow and allowed us to continue to deliver a vibrant arts programme for all in our community even in difficult COVID restricted times. The support allows us to forward plan as well for ongoing sustainability.”