A much needed arts and community space for the Glens
When the Old Church was closed and deconsecrated it lost its former identity. Now it has a chance to take on a new identity as a resource for everyone in our community. Cushendun Building Preservation Trust was set up with the aim of converting the church into an arts centre, serving the people of the Glens and also helping to bring visitors to the area all year round.
We envisage that it will be not only a gallery hosting touring exhibitions and showing local artists work but also a beautiful and unusual venue for a whole range of arts-centred initiatives.
The building is simple but versatile and will easily adapt to become a lively performance, practice and lecture space for activities ranging from drama, dance and music to cinema and evening classes. At the same time, sympathetic design will ensure that it keeps the special feel of an old country church. Cushendun has a long association with the arts. Painters such as Humbert Craig, Theo Gracy and Maurice Wilks were regular visitors.
Charles McAuley was a well-known figure around the village, setting up his easel in all weathers. Poets and writers also came to stay. In 1900 Moira O’Neill, then living in Rockport House, published the hugely popular Songs of The Glens of Antrim, and both Louis Macneice and John Masefield spent time in Cushendun. And then there is the stong living tradition of music and drama for which the Glens of Antrim are famous. It is hoped that Cushendun Old Church Arts Centre will provide a well-supported community space for the village and also a much needed arts venue for the whole of North East Antrim.