Riverdance star and top artists help Irish Centre get back on its feet

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Image captionJonathan O'Dea has made a sculpture from the many old keys which used to unlock the former Irish Centre's rooms

Hammersmith’s Irish Centre is coming back with a jig next year thanks to a fundraising drive supported by top artists.

Riverdance star Michael Flatley and acclaimed sculptor Jonathan O’Dea are among a host of top artists who have donated their work to raise funds for Hammersmith’s Cultural Irish Centre.

The funds raised will go towards transforming the tired building in Blacks Road.

General manager Collette Macklin praised the generosity of the artists and said the most exciting part of the new design is that it will be more welcoming to the community.

“The cultural hub will be back again,” she said.

“There will be a bar/café area in reception, which we didn’t have before, where local people can come in and have some lunch in a really warm, friendly, safe and cultural environment for everyone to use.

“We will also be more sustainable as we will be able to hire out rooms to local businesses. This is a brilliant new space with really well-proportioned rooms.”

A lot of the funding for the work was achieved by working with Shepherd’s Bush Housing which is building 24 flats in two floors above the centre.

The centre now needs to raise £643,000 to transform the interior once they move back in April. They hope to reopen to the public in September next year.

Michael Flatley, who creates work by dancing on canvas, was the first to donate to the cause with a painting which is expected to fetch about £30,000 at auction. His generosity was followed by a range of other artists.

Jonathan O'Dea is creating a sculpture for the centre created from the building materials used to transform it. He is also the latest in a series of artists creating work to sell for the fundraising drive and has made a sculpture from the many old keys which used to unlock the former centre’s rooms.

“Keys are two-dimensional so trying to produce a 3D piece of artwork was not going to be straightforward,” he said.

“It’s about creating simplicity and complexity at the same time in order to draw the viewer in.”

His and the other artists’ work are being exhibited at Barbara Stanley’s Gallery, 27 Connaught Street, London W2 2AY, close to Marble Arch tube station. The centre is encouraging everyone to visit the gallery and see the artwork from Ireland’s leading artists for themselves.

Email Collette at gm@irishculturalcentre.co.uk or call the centre on 020 8563 8232 to find out more.