VAI Artists Café – O’Connell Plinth Commission

This event took place on 26 January 2021

As part of the Sculpture Dublin public engagement programme, Visual Artists Ireland is organising a series of cafés that bring together artists, arts organisations and audiences, and connect them with local projects.

This Café introduced City Hall and the immediate vicinity of the new sculpture commission for the O’Connell Plinth. The awarded artist, Alan Phelan, was  presented at the event.

Karen Downey, the Sculpture Dublin Programme Director, introduced the O’Connell Plinth commission and gave some context about the Sculpture Dublin Programme.

Alan Phelan discussed his concept for the commission and he talked about the process of responding to a public art commission brief, in particular the Sculpture Dublin O’Connell Plinth commission brief.

Brian Crowley, a historian working in the Heritage Services, National Monuments, OPW, as well as an archivist in Kilmainham Gaol, highlighted a particular moment of Dublin’s history related to the City Hall, which is one of the inspiration points for Alan Phelan’s sculpture.

Helen Pheby presented her approach to commissioning sculptures as the Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as well as the challenges that can arise in relation to the public’s reception of public art works.

Paula Murphy, Professor Emeritus at UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy and a member of Sculpture Dublin Steering Group,  briefly dived into the history of plinths and pedestals in Dublin, how they generally constitute an unnoticed element despite its relevance as part of a sculptural work.

Venue: Online

The speakers for the event were:

  • Alan Phelan (Commissioned Artist)
  • Karen Downey, Programme Director at Sculpture Dublin
  • Brian Crowley (Heritage Services, National Monuments, OPW)
  • Helen Pheby, Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Prof. Paula Murphy (UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy)

Starts: Tue Jan 26, 202015:00 GMT
Ends: Tue Jan 26, 202016:30 GMT

Free Registration