Killarney's Heritage Home of the Arts will be seeing some significant changes this summer, that being their Arts Administrator, Jane Ireland, will be leaving the art centre at the end of May, leaving behind big shoes to fill!

The arts centre opened its doors in September of 2018 and had a good 1-1/2 years of fundraisers, workshops and exhibitions before Covid closures and restrictions shut operations down.  Starting back up again has certainly had its challenges.  However, Ireland says she has shared her passion for the Arts over the past 5 years with her community, inspite of the pandemic, and this transition to a new employment opportunity came with mixed feelings.

"It was an incredibly hard decision!  I love my job," she shares, "but I was offered another opportunity that was too hard to turn down and I also thought it's probably time.  I've been here 5 years, it's set up and running, and I thought maybe it's time for a fresh set of eyes and maybe a new take on how to implement the programs.  So, it was a bittersweet choice."

Ireland will be stepping into her new position of operations manager of the Oak and Owl Cafe and gallery/framing shop.

However, Ireland says she will remain committed to the Killarney and Area Arts Council.  "I'm not going anywhere, my heart is there, so I will be staying on with some of the committees and will certainly help them find a replacement."

Financially, the arts centre is doing well, she says.  "I think a bit of a deficit in our first budget scared us a bit, but we did some changes to our budgeting and so I think we'll be absolutely fine, and if the government responds to some of the calls being made to them right now, particularly the Federal government, I think the Arts culture and community will do very well, but not to say we don't need some support there." 

Ireland says she's excited to begin her role of managing the Oak & Owl building, this being a natural fit as the arts centre and the cafe have partnered on a number of events, including Killarney's first Women of Distinction Awards evening, and evening concerts.

"I'm looking forward to new challenges and new ways of connecting with the community!  I'll be there June 1st, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!" she adds with a laugh.

Listen below to more of the interview with Jane Ireland and CJRB's Barry Lamb!