ROMANCES were made and broken in the old cinema in Mountmellick – now the local arts centre – which is currently being renovatated.
In an effort to raise matching funds for the work, which the art centre committee has already received, a seat dedication scheme has just been launched.
In a promotional video for the arts centre, committee member Cathy Bishop, who “grew up next door to the cinema”, says that all 450 seats in the auditorium have been temporarily removed because “the arts centre is undergoing major renovations”.
She said the plan is to dedicate a seat to deceased local people, family members, or those who wish to be remembered. Cathy said the cost of dedicating a seat in the centre is €50 and a layout of the named dedicated seats will be framed and displayed in the lobby.
On a gofundme page, Cathy also said: “So, our beloved cinema. Those of you of a certain vintage (and I include myself among you) know that you didn’t have to meet under Clery’s clock for a date. A date in the cinema was where many love stories began. In fact, some even ended here.
“You know, this place holds many memories for us all. For me, I grew up in its shadow. It was part of the streetscape I called home. It is undergoing major renovation at the moment, thanks to funding by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Laois County Council under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and some matching funding from the arts centre. As a result, work like new flooring, internal and external painting, fire and security system installation are all taking place.
“You don’t need me to tell you the Trojan work of the Community Arts Centre committee and the local Community Employment Scheme based in Mountmellick and funded by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, which has made all of this a reality. They have worked together to make the funding stretch to ensure this building will be here as a centre of entertainment in the midlands for future generations. Who knows? Maybe they will make memories here, too.
“With the permission of the committee, I’ve come up with this fundraising idea. It’s a way of saying thanks to this building, a sort of gesture to show our pride and gratitude and in the process create a small pool of funds to ease the road into the future, when the doors are reopened.
“I am sure so many of you feel the same. My plan is like this: The 450 seats will be going back in over the next week or so. If you would like to associate your name or the name of a loved family member who has passed on and who may have spent time in here at the flicks, then you can do that.
“A map of the seating area will be created by a graphic artist. Your designated name relating to your associated seat will be added to the map and the complete map will be framed and displayed here forever. You will get a personalised certificate to memoralise this association for posterity. The cost of associating the name with a seat is €50. I’ve set the goal here of €5,000 just to get started, as not everyone is on social media or platforms such as this.
“If I manage to convince 450 of you, we as a community can raise €22,500 to present to arts centre committee to light the way for their path into the future; much like the torch men of old.
Up to this week, over 50% of the seats have been reserved for dedication while neary €2,000 has been pledged on the gofundme page.
For more information phone Cathy on 086 1289262 or to fund the initiative directly log onto www.gofundme.com/f/mountmellick-arts-centre-seat-dedication