Gallery celebrates its third birthday

TO celebrate the third birthday of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Lurgan born composer, Dr Simon Mawhinney, performed a concert of piano music in the gallery for a large audience who came from near and far to hear the programme which included works by Liszt and Debussy.

Friends of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery joined councillors, staff and classical music fans to celebrate three successful years during which the gallery has established a reputation for excellence and attracted diverse audiences to Banbridge.

Guests enjoyed Dr Mawhinney’s dynamic performance in the unique setting of the gallery surrounded by artwork from Barbara Freeman’s exhibition ‘On The Square’. A birthday cake provided by the Windsor Bakery, Banbridge and refreshments provided by Quails at the gallery were served at the interval.

Dr Mawhinney, who teaches at Queen’s University and has a growing international reputation as a composer and performer, also played a number of his own compositions including Ravara which he dedicated to Barbara Freeman.

Curator Dr Riann Coulter said: “We are delighted to welcome Simon to the F.E. McWilliam Gallery. This is our first classical concert and we are particularly pleased to have such a talented local composer perform for us. We are also very grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for lending us a magnificent Steinway grand piano.”

Since opening in 2008, the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio has welcomed over 126,000 visitors and hosted exhibitions by celebrated artists including William Scott, T.P. Flanagan, Barbara Freeman and F.E. McWilliam. Group exhibitions of design, contemporary sculpture, work from the Seacourt Print Workshop and art on the theme of the forest by students from schools, colleges of further and higher education and the University of Ulster, have proved extremely popular with local, national and international visitors.

Three exhibitions - F.E. McWilliam in Banbridge, Nano Reid and Gerard Dillon and The Surreal in Irish Art - have been organised in collaboration with the gallery’s cross-border partner, The Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda.

The F.E. McWilliam Gallery was built by Banbridge District Council to celebrate the work of the internationally renowned sculptor, F.E. McWilliam who was born in Banbridge in 1909. A reconstruction of McWilliam’s studio, complete with tools, maquettes and models, has been created in the sculpture garden, where several works by McWilliam as well as temporary exhibitions by other sculptors are on display.

Barbara Freeman’s ‘On The Square’ exhibition runs until Saturday 26 November 2011. For further information about this exhibition, contact the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio on 4062 3322.