Omagh arts centre set to open with Mitchell Kane identity

Strule Arts Centre, a contemporary facility in Omagh in Northern Ireland, is set to open this summer as part of a wider improvement scheme in the area, with a brand image and corporate identity by Belfast-based consultancy Mitchell Kane Associates.

Owned and operated by Omagh District Council, the facility aims to regenerate tourism, leisure and cultural activity in the district, while promoting arts accessibility.

Designed by architect Kennedy Fitzgerald, the centre will be a state-of-the-art building, and house a 400-seat auditorium, studio theatre, dance studio, workshops, exhibition space and a tourism information centre, along with a restaurant, bar and several coffee bars.

The project is part of a major urban regeneration scheme to transform the riverbank and surrounding area, creating civic spaces, walkways and a pedestrian bridge across the river to link up with the further education college on the other side.

Following a final seven-way tendering process, Mitchell Kane Associates was appointed to the branding work earlier this month. The other consultancies taking part in the tender were Creative Media, Jelly Communications, NWIPP, Rodney Miller Associates, Tandem Designs and Willow Design.

According to the tender brief, the council hopes to address the wider issues of social exclusion and social need through creative activity.

Mitchell Kane Associates has been tasked with developing an ‘instantly recognisable logo and tagline, which will be recognised locally, regionally and nationally’, as well as designing corporate stationery. It must be suitable for all media formats and easily translated into black-and-white or colour.

The visual identity must take into account the council’s own logo, which will be included on all corporate printed material. Consultancy partner Sean Mitchell says, ‘We will carry out a full brand architecture, including signs and the identity, that will provide a parental focus for arts activity within the region. The project is good for the region, and the branding will be exciting, appealing and relevant. It is very important for Omagh that a distinctive dynamic should be strongly integrated in the corporate identity work, to provide a point of difference.’

The council’s arts development officer Jean Brennan says, ‘We are trying to create activity in the region and address social inclusion. We want the centre to have an identity that sits beside [that of] the council.’

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland awarded the council a National Lottery capital grant of £4m in 1999 for the scheme, and the project is also being funded directly by the council.

• To unlock derelict land along the riverbank
• To stimulate economic activity in Omagh
• To promote a wider demographic mix in the town centre in the evenings
• To make a contribution to visual amenities in the high street
• To create a new street and act as a catalyst in extending the town towards the river

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