A partnership between the City Council and 30 arts workers, Soma Gallery and Waterford City Arts Spaces (WCAS) at 6 Lombard Street, Waterford, was officially opened by a “hugely impressed” Mayor John Halligan on Thursday, March 25th.
Working with mainly derelict buildings (such as those on Bank Lane, the old motor tax office as well as Anna Manahan’s former house and its neighbour) the initiative involved clearing, repairing, renovating and creating an environment for art to flourish.
In total eight buildings were redeveloped. The three on bank Lane became a recording studio, artists’ studios, craft studios and office. The upstairs of the former tax office was converted into seven artists’ studio spaces. No6 Lombard Street has been transformed as Kyte & Black Robots rehearsal spaces, and No5 as three artists’ studios.
Soma Gallery 1 was opened on the Mall and received exhibitions until the end of last September. Through November, December and most of January major renovations got underway on re-roofing part of the building, clearing debris, building new walls and clearing a garden full of dumped rubble.
The end result is one of the country’s best and most manageable art boxes – Soma.