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Irish Museum of Modern Art Opens Exhibition in Co Tyrone
Gerard Dillon, Space Circus, undated, watercolour and collage, 39.37 x 55.88 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art.

DUBLIN, IRELAND.- An exhibition from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection , organised as part of IMMA’s National Programme, opens to the public in Omagh, Co Tyrone on Saturday 1 September 2007. Collectors’ Choice: An Exhibition of Works Selected by Maura and George McClelland from their Personal Collection and the McClelland Collection at IMMA marks the first partnership between the IMMA National Programme and Omagh’s Strule Arts Centre. The exhibition also celebrates the life of Maura McClelland who died in July 2007.

Collectors’ Choice includes works by William Conor, Gerard Dillon, Paul Henry, Tony O’Malley, Dan O’Neill, Colin Middleton and William Scott amongst others. In the 1960s George and Maura McClelland opened a gallery in Belfast , which grew out of a love for art and was a means of supporting contemporary artists. In 1999 the McClellands offered 400 paintings, sculptures and drawings to IMMA for a loan period of five years. Subsequently, almost half of this collection was donated permanently to IMMA, allowing the McClellands to start a new collecting campaign. This exhibition, drawn from the McClellands’ private collection and some of the works now in the IMMA Collection , is coming home to Omagh where George McClelland grew up and first began to dream of buying and making art. In May of this year the exhibition was shown in Daingean Ui Chuis, Co Kerry, where Maura went to school. In October, the exhibition will also travel, as part of the IMMA’s National Programme, to the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Co Louth.

Commenting on Maura McClelland’s passing IMMA’s Director, Enrique Juncosa, said: “Everyone at the Museum was deeply saddened to learn of Maura’s death. Through the very generous loan of their collection, Maura and George made an immense contribution to IMMA at a crucial stage in its development. The fact that almost half of that collection now forms part of the Museum’s permanent Collection stands as a lasting testament to the important place they will always hold in the history of the Museum. We all hope that this exhibition will go some way to celebrating Maura’s wonderfully full and interesting life.”

Strule Arts Centre opened to the public in June 2007 and is purpose-built to house, nurture and present a hive of artistic talent, offering creative outlets and opportunities for the people of Omagh District Council and beyond. It is a state-of-the-art building which will play host to music, theatre, comedy and dance performances, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions . This landmark Arts Centre, which is owned and operated by Omagh District Council, boasts a 398 seat auditorium, 125 seat studio theatre and conference room, dance studio, recording studio, print workshop, ceramics workshop, photographic studio, rehearsal rooms, exhibition space, outdoor amphitheatre and Tourist Information Centre alongside a bar and cafe bar.

IMMA’s National Programme is designed to create access opportunities to the visual arts in a variety of situations and locations in Ireland . Using the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and exhibitions generated by the Museum, the National Programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country. The National Programme establishes the Museum as inclusive, accessible and national, de-centralising the Collection , and making it available to communities in their own localities, on their own terms, in venues with which the audience is comfortable and familiar.

Collectors’ Choice. An Exhibition of Works Selected by Maura and George McClelland from their Personal Collection and the McClelland Collection at IMMA continues at The Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, Co Tyrone until 30 September 2007. \

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