The Social Welfare office in Dún Laoghaire becomes an art gallery for the town's Arts Week.
First held in 1969, Dun Laoghaire Arts Week was a community arts event aimed at involving the people of the borough in the arts. A week-long celebration of the arts, it comprised of a wide variety of events including theatre, dance, literary and art workshops, music, street performances and street entertainment, art exhibitions, film screenings, demonstrations, guided walks, and events for children.
Down through the years, events have always been held in venues all over the town, but this is the first time that an art exhibition has been staged in Dun Laoghaire Labour Exchange.
Organiser of the exhibition John Renwick explained why the Social Welfare office was chosen as one of the venues for this year’s Arts Week,
Dún Laoghaire itself has a huge population of artists...6,500 locals come in here every week, and the space is excellent gallery space. One of the local artists had the idea for the exhibition, he came in here, and it seemed obvious to have one.
Many different types of art now adorn the walls of the Labour Exchange, including works by artists Gene Lambert and Oliver Whelan. Some of the works have social themes, but according to John Renwick,
Generally, the message given is that the work is here to be seen by people, it’s not to be valued financially, it’s just to be looked at.
One lady who dropped in is very pleasantly surprised by what she has seen, and agrees wholeheartedly with the decision to stage the exhibition in the dole office,
Normally such exhibitions happen in private galleries, a small number of a certain class of people go there, you just wouldn’t normally see them, certainly not this amazing range between photographs of disabled people, beautifully sensitive ones, and all these different paintings.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 September 1987. The reporter is Theresa Mannion.