Artist seeks equality through social inclusion at new Arts Centre

Egis Paulikas

Reporter:

Egis Paulikas

Email:

egis@alphanewspapers.com

A TULLAMORE based artist and wheelchair user, David Boland has added his voice to the calls for a community arts centre to be developed in Tullamore.

The well known artist said he is speaking out to enhance active citizenship and equality for all through social inclusion at the promised arts centre.

”Who has taken the vision out of Offaly, what’s happened to the Pillars of Creative Ireland in Offaly? Signing up to policies and frameworks is all very well but you have to put your money and support where your mouth is. Tullamore needs a community arts centre badly,” he commented this week.

Mr Boland added: “This is a large ongoing commitment but that’s what looking after the welfare of the community means. I am a an artist and a wheelchair user, places matter. Who is responsible for the catastrophic failure of management and vision as regards to O’Connor Square as a civic space, the end design is only half of what it should have been. The original agreed and publicly voted design included a performance area with seating outside our

library, it looked brilliant beside the successfully active library, a potential cultural area? Well that ship has sailed so let’s not allow the same to happen to the arts centre?”

”Apart from the

Lloyd Park we have a town full of parked cars, there is nowhere to go and relax, not everyone wants to be in a pub for their entertainment and pastimes. Time has told us what has not worked, I no longer want to read ‘time will tell’. Please stop wasting our precious time and resources, time has been lost. The community has lost out enough through apathy and poor decision making. TCAC need to be proactive, pay for a proper business plan, the community

gave money for this and don’t be waiting for the funding date to pass by.”

Mr Boland stressed that “a council’s remit is to look after the wider community. A public service ethos that should have the citizens welfare at its core. Speaking on behalf of artists and wheelchair users, the Council and TCAC, focus, do what you are assigned to do, get that arts centre open one way or another. Be responsible and have foresight about what makes a great place to live, dont loose the monies available. Make this the year for decent footpaths with socially inclusive spaces, designed for all, to be active members of society. Make this the year for the Tullamore Arts Community Centre, create a locality of interest to no longer be grants ignored or bypassed.”

Nationally and centrally located, the artist claimed Tullamore, has been left behind.

”I want to know that the council will commit to investing in people and the design of public spaces, the arts and cultural sector is a proven regenerator within towns and counties. Think of all the members of the wider community that would benefit and that have put up with the trade injustice, art and design professionals, associated jobs, musicians, aspiring students and teachers to be, trades that are being negated locally. ”

David Boland attends the Artist in Residency programme at Riada House run by Anam Beo, the Arts and Health Organisation in Offaly. He also attends Anam Beo art sessions at the IWA, Ballinagar.

Kathleen Carroll, a CE Supervisor at the centre has said - ‘Only for Anam Beo the Offaly arts and health organisation, service users would have been forgotten about as regards to community and collaborative arts.”

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