A great new art gallery opened up in Waterford last week on the Mall across from the Theatre Royal and close to the Palma restaurant.

Called SOMA, it is a new art space to be used by emerging artists, run by Paul Hallahan and Conor Nolan.

The old motor tax office on Lombard St. is becoming an arts studio housing a number of artists, with seven in total expected to operate from there at a special professional studio space.

This is a very welcome addition to the arts on behalf of the city council.

We spoke to one of the artists exhibiting there, Conrado De Velasco from Manila in the Philippines, who has been living in Waterford for the past 5 years. He trained as an architect and graphic designer in Manila, before moving to Sydney, Australia, then onto San Francisco in the USA. He married an American Nancy Rondestvedt, a jewellery designer.

Another exhibitor in the Soma gallery is Jacqueline O’Keeffe from upstate New York in the USA but married to a Waterford man, John O’Keeffe from the city..

There is a wide range of modern artistic styles on offer in what is a good addition to the cultural life of Waterford.

The exhibition runs for a few more weeks so get down there and have a look and support these young artists.

The style is contemporary and figurative is a description offered by Conor Nolan, Arts Officer for Waterford City Council.

Apart from SOMA, there are other artist studios in 2 Bank Lane and a recording studio in 1 Bank Lane and No. 3 Bank Lane is becoming an art/craft workshop.

The launch last Friday was accompanied by a DJ and music.