Minister Deenihan opens The Copper House Gallery and launches FIRE Art Awards

fireThis is an amazing project. I spoke to Lezek Wolnik about the project for Culture Cafe. The interview will be broadcast tomorrow morning at 1000 on 2XM and will also be repeated on Sunday at 2100. It will be available as a podcast from tomorrow after the show is aired.

Here’s the press stuff.. I’m totally in awe of what Lezek and Maureen are doing..

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. will this evening, September 27th 2011, unveil the new €150,000 FIRE ARTS AWARDS at the official opening of one of Ireland’s most progressive and exciting new galleries, The Copper House Gallery, off Synge Street in Dublin.

Speaking before the event Minister Deenihan warmly congratulated Maureen and Leszek Wolnik on their achievements to date and wished them every success for the future. “In addition to the FIRE ART AWARD, the investment which has gone into the provision of a brand new Gallery, a stone’s throw from the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw, I might add, is a wonderful addition to the local community and the wider Dublin Arts fraternity. This new space will offer emerging and established artists the opportunity of staging a professional exhibition and engaging with a world class Fine Arts facility and publishing house” said Minister Deenihan.

The FIRE ARTS AWARDS is a new three year initiative established by FIRE , a creative design and fine art facility in the heart of Dublin, to encourage, nurture, support and challenge artists resident or working in Ireland today. The awards will include the annual PROPELLER @ FIRE AWARD, aimed at graduate visual art students in their graduation year, and three other awards which will focus on specific art forms; ILLUSTRATION @ FIRE in 2011, PHOTOGRAPHY @ FIRE in 2012 and FINE ART @ FIRE in 2013.

Each annual award will take the form of an open competition which will be adjudicated by a panel of independent judges who will choose 10 finalists before selecting an overall winner. Each of the finalists will be presented with €1,000 worth of fine art printing and publishing from FIRE and the overall winner will receive prizes in excess of €15,000 to include everything from a residency and exhibition at The Copper House Gallery, to mentoring in best practice in fine art printing and publishing.

“We have worked closely with artists and galleries for over 30 years now”, said Leszek Wolnik, owner of FIRE, “It is wonderful for us to be opening our own gallery tonight and to be in a position to offer support and new opportunities to artists, photographers and illustrators living and working in Ireland. The FIRE ARTS AWARDS have been a long-term ambition of ours and we have more exciting plans on the way”.

Stuart McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Business to Arts said, “This emerging initiative from Les, Maureen and the team at Fire Studio will serve as an inspiration for other organisations looking for innovative ways to support the crossover between business and the arts. With a clear vision of the mutual benefit that can be gained from allowing artists to have access to

their world-class facilities I have no doubt that this project will be a success and that many more people will become aware both of the work of the Studio itself, and of the artists they support.”

The opening exhibition at The Copper House Gallery is a collective of works by award winning members of The Illustrators Guild of Ireland. The exhibition will run until the 7th October. Gallery opening times for this exhibition are Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.

For further information on the awards and how to enter, log on to