New public artwork for West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen

Posted on: 7th April, 2014

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

West Cork Arts Centre has commissioned artist Michael Ray to create an original public artwork for their new building for the arts. The purpose of the piece is to uniquely commemorate the donors to the new building fund. The piece is to be permanent and site-specific.

In response to the brief, Michael Ray has designed a unique sculpture, which will be created from glass and light. This free-standing artwork will be made up of tall, slender rods of crystal glass. Each rod will incorporate the names of the donors in their own handwriting.

“The idea for this sculpture came about when we were considering how best to mark the commitment of the donors to our new building for the arts,” said West Cork Arts Centre Director, Ann Davoren. “As an Arts Centre, it only seems appropriate that we would come up with a creative spin on the traditional honours board. Based on his art practice and his track record of creating public art pieces with, and informed by, community groups, we knew that Michael was the perfect fit for the job.”

Artist Michael Ray is based in Rosscarbery and is renowned for his work in glass. He has work in many public and private collections and has represented Irish art on the international stage, exhibiting most recently in China.

“When I was approached by the Arts Centre to design this piece, I had a lot of factors to consider,’ Said Michael. “Firstly, that I was creating a piece for a space that didn’t yet exist. That takes a big imaginative leap.

“Added to that, it is a project that carries some responsibility. To create a work that would honour the generosity of those that believe in this new Arts Centre and also to create something that was going to reside in the new West Cork Arts Centre building for future generations to enjoy.”

For a donation of €500 or more, individuals or groups can become a part of this permanent artwork. Donations are welcome from individuals, families, businesses, community groups, clubs or organisations.

Each strip of crystal will be personalised. Through a series of workshops, those donors will meet with the artist in person to create the unique handwritten inscription that will appear in the piece.

“Handwriting is a very personal mark,” said Michael. “That element of the piece is fundamental. It will indicate the variety of people and groups that contributed and how that represents the community coming together to build their Arts Centre.”

“It has been interesting to observe how people have responded to being included in the piece,” said Arts Centre Director, Ann Davoren, “Most will donate in their own name whereas other are donating in the name of a loved one who has passed or in the names of their children who are the future of this new Arts Centre.

“What was initially designed to be a work of public art is quickly becoming a legacy piece.

“This artwork will be in place well into the future. I think that it is important to show future generations that we did what we could to support this Arts Centre so that it could be here for them to enjoy.”

The closing date for inclusion in this work of art is May 1, 2014. To become a part of this artwork, contact West Cork Arts Centre at 028 22090 or email ann@westcorkarstcentre.com. One hundred per cent of all donations made to the West Cork Arts Centre New Building Fund will go toward the construction and fit-out of the new building.

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