Local man Chris O’Dowd to open Boyle Arts Festival

This year’s Boyle Arts Festival and Visual Art Exhibition will be officially opened by Hollywood star and renowned Broadway and television actor and writer, Chris O’Dowd in King House on Thursday, July 18th at 8pm.

We are delighted to welcome Chris home to open BAF 2024, not only because he is Boyle’s finest ambassador but because he is someone with a keen interest in art, music, drama, film, and comedy – all cornerstones of Boyle Arts Festival over the last 35 years.

(By Brendan McGee)

The evening will begin with a fabulous Festival Opening Parade that promises to be a vibrant celebration of creativity and community, filled with new and exciting visual delights, showcasing the artistic expression of joy in our community. The parade will start at 7:15pm at the Crescent, and make its way through Bridge Street and Main Street, ending at King House. We eagerly anticipate that everybody will line the streets and gather to participate in this magical event which is not just a display; it’s an invitation to be part of something truly special.

The parade will feature collaborations with local organisations, including innovative puppet designs by artist, Orla Clougher. They will be brought to life by the Boyle Foróige Youth Hub, along with the rhythmic beats guided by percussion instructor Peter Crann, the dynamic movements of Victoria Walker Dance, and the vibrant costumes from designer Carol Daly. Additionally, various sports groups will add their spirited displays to the mix, ensuring there’s something mesmerising for everyone.

Come out and be part of our celebration of creativity and community! Let’s make this festival the most memorable one yet! Fill the streets with colour, joy, and artistic expression! Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, this will be a magical event for everyone involved.

Chris will also officially open this year’s Main Visual Art Exhibition, ‘Visual Presence’ which brings together leading artists from across Ireland, continuing the strong North-South flavour that has characterised it over the past 35 years. This year’s curator, Paul McKenna of the McKenna Gallery in Omagh, says “It is such an honour to curate ‘Visual Presence,’ and also hard to believe it is eight years since I first selected for the Boyle Arts Festival Main Exhibition.”

Showcasing 150 artists, with a concentration on painting, sculpture, drawing and photography, ‘Visual Presence’ promises a visual thread celebrating the richness and diversity of Irish art that has characterised the exhibition annually since 1989.

The exhibition will feature work by amongst others, Robert Armstrong, Brian Ballard, Rory Breslin, Malachy Costello, Sian Costello, Aidan Crotty, Frances Crowe, Dominique Crowley. Simon English, Brian Fay, Matthew Gammon, Diane Henshaw, Redmond Herrity, Jenny Jessop, Miseon Lee, Daniel Lipstein, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Brian MacMahon, Jenny Mahony, Selma Makela, Susan Mannion, Andrzej Mazur, Clement McAleer, Gavin McCandless, Paddy McCann, Shauna McCann, Brian McDonagh, Michael McGuinness, Rosie McGurran, Kenny McKendry, Colleen McSheffrey, Alan Meredith, Helen Merrigan Colfer, Colin Watson, Tommy Weir, and Catherine Weld.

There will be an opportunity to take part in a guided tour of the Exhibition on July 19th with the artist Terry Sweeney. Booking is essential.

This exhibition will remain open to the public until August 4th.

The opening ceremony will also see the presentation of the 5th annual Fergus Ahern Award for merit and it will be awarded to an artist with work in the Main Exhibition. Fergus worked tirelessly to place the Boyle Arts Festival on a national platform, earning it a place as one of Ireland’s most anticipated and prestigious summer celebrations of the arts.

The hugely popular Open Exhibition provides a forum for artists who would otherwise find few opportunities to display their work and attracts entrants from all over Ireland. The art is always of an exceptionally high standard and the exhibition provides an important showcase of local talent. Come and see this year’s stunning collection from 10am to 5pm every day during the Festival, in The Royal Exhibition Space on Bridge Street.

The Art Trail offers an unparalleled chance for artists to exhibit their work in various shop windows and vacant spaces around the town, providing a unique platform to engage with the community and visitors alike. Drop in to the office to pick up our official Art Trail information sheet and map, for a chance to see where

Please note that entrance to all exhibitions is free.

For more information, see our programmes and flyers. The Festival office at An Ríoga on Bridge St. will be open every day (excluding Sundays) from July 11th until July 27th. Office hours are 11am to 5pm. For more information, please visit Tel. 089 9722477. Email [email protected] or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X.

Boyle Arts Festival is supported by The Arts Council, Local Sponsors including ProCloud, Philomedia and Nordson, Roscommon Co. Council, The Department of Rural & Community Development and the Roscommon Co. Council Creative Ireland Programme 2024.

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