Longford Becomes Ireland’s First Open-Air Art Gallery

Longford was positively bursting with creativity this summer, with a range of festivals taking place, including Cruthú Arts Festival among others. But something you certainly can’t have missed was the Expressions International Photography Festival – Ireland’s first open-air gallery, which turned the whole of Longford town into an art exhibition.

This was the festival’s third year running and, this time, the organisers decided to shake things up a bit: “The first couple of years, we had a traditional gallery space, which was great,” explained Shelley Corcoran.

“But sometimes, gallery spaces can put off the general public. That’s why we brought it outdoors this year. The general public; people in cars; anybody was exposed to it and we’re hoping it might generate a bit of interest in art.”

Expressions Open Air Gallery - Joe Strickland

There were a total of 50 beautiful paintings erected on lampposts, walls and buildings around Longford town at the end of July, while the Cruthú Arts Festival was going on, turning Longford into a town of bright colours and artistic talent.

“It was really good to see people just sitting and looking at the photographs. Because it was outdoors, there were no descriptions for the photographs, so people were inclined to have their own idea of what the photograph was about,” said Shelley.

“Everyone has a different way of viewing art. For example, there was a photo of a little girl crying and someone said ‘that’s so sad’, but really, she was crying because she couldn’t have jelly for breakfast. So it looks really sad, but it was really just a child being a child.”

The gallery was a huge success, with scores of people walking or driving through the streets of Longford enjoying the beautiful photography on display around the town.

Entries for the gallery came from all over the world, from locations with different societies, religions and cultures, and were hung up on the streets of Longford alongside images from Longford and across Ireland.

“Longford is a midlands town not recognised enough for its art, so we’re quite proud to have that and for Longford to have something innovative. We’re hoping to make it even bigger next year,” Shelley continued, adding that the organisers are hoping to display 100 large, colourful photographs around the town.

For more information on Expressions International Photography competition, or to keep up to date with how to enter the competition next year, keep an eye on www.longforddigitalarts.ie

You can also find Expressions Exhibition and Awards on Facebook to learn more about this year’s finalists and award-winners.