Sculpture Dublin launched!

Sculpture Dublin, an ambitious project designed to put sculpture at the heart of communities around Dublin City was launched by the newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin City, Hazel Chu today.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of Dublin’s sculptural heritage and to commission new works in parks and public spaces city-wide. The idea originated with a survey of sculpture in Dublin City Council’s parks, Art in Parks which depicts a wealth of public art in the city’s parks, including a series of ten sculptures that were commissioned as part of the 1988 millennium celebrations.

New commissions

Sculpture Dublin will spearhead the investment of €600,000 in the commissioning of six new sculptures for parks and public spaces across Dublin in the next 18 months. Following initial consultation and a survey of sites conducted in the last year, locations for the new commissions have been identified in each of the five Dublin City Council Local Administrative Areas; the new Ballyfermot People’s Park, Ballyfermot; Bushy Park, Terenure; Kildonan Park, Finglas; Smithfield Square Lower and St Anne’s Park, Raheny. A temporary sculpture will also be commissioned for the O’Connell Plinth, an empty plinth outside City Hall on Dame Street, which once supported John Hogan’s statue of Daniel O’Connell, now on display in the Rotunda of City Hall.
Details of the six commissions are published here today. The commissions will be awarded before the end of 2020 and realised in 2021. Five of the six commissions are open competitions and artists will be asked to create a sculptural work in response to the specific context of the selected site. Two of the commissions are participative and will require local involvement in the creation of the work. For the site overlooking North Bull Island in St Anne’s Park, a major permanent land art work is planned. It will be an invited competition given the specialist nature of the art form.

Celebrating sculpture

All of the commissions will benefit from local engagement programmes designed to raise awareness, provoke conversations about sculpture and involve people in discussing how sculpture and public art enhance their neighbourhood.
Sculpture Dublin will work with the city’s cultural institutions to draw attention to the sculpture in their collections and temporary exhibition programmes.
Through public talks, tours and workshops, online presentations and publications, and a number of exciting new initiatives, including a Sculpture Day and a Developmental Sculpture Award, Sculpture Dublin aims to make sculpture “part of everyday conversation”, building connectivity and solidarity and contributing to overall public confidence and pride of place.
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu said, “I am honoured to launch the initiative today. Sculpture is a reflection of people and place, of who we are, where we come from and where we are going. We’ve witnessed communities all over the world engage in sculpture in a renewed way in the last month. As well as rejecting symbols of past oppression, many have also celebrated sculpture that best reflects their traditions, culture and art. I want to congratulate Dublin City Council for initiating this ambitious programme of sculpture and I encourage the people of Dublin to embrace it. The new sculptures, and our existing sculptures city-wide, belong to you and are there for generations to come to enjoy and have pride in.”
Programme Director of Sculpture Dublin, Karen Downey, said, “Artistic excellence and public engagement is the duel focus of the Sculpture Dublin programme. In the commissioning of six new sculptures over the next 18 months, and our work raising public awareness of the existing sculpture in the city, we want to explore a wide range of ideas and perspectives that reflect the historic, contemporary and diverse city of Dublin through a legacy of sculpture. ”
Ray Yeates, City Arts Officer, Dublin City Council said, “Sculpture Dublin is an exciting opportunity, both for artists and for the wider public. It represents a step change in public consultation and engagement in the creation of public sculpture in Dublin and we want the public to come on this journey with us. Get involved in the new commission where you can, take part in the initiatives that will be organised to celebrate public sculpture. Public sculpture by its definition is for the people, and we want it to be of the people. Dublin City Council want a strong sense of ownership and pride in public sculpture to be a lasting legacy of this initiative.”