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Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Launches Per Cent for Art Scheme at Mary Immaculate College

Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, was today present at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) to officially launch the Per Cent for Art Scheme at the College. The Per Cent for Art scheme is a government initiative, first introduced in 1988, whereby 1% of the cost of any publicly funded capital, infrastructural and building development can be allocated to the commissioning of a work of art. Since 1997 this scheme has been made available to all capital projects across all government departments.

MIC recently completed a major capital investment programme to a total of €40 million, enabling the reshaping of the campus. Under this phase of the College’s building programme two buildings, entitled Tailteann and Teamhair / TARA, were constructed and officially opened by An Taoiseach in September 2010. Under the Per Cent for Art Scheme, MIC sought expressions of interest from established artists wishing to create unique work(s) in any medium. The College was inundated with responses from almost 70 artists from all over Ireland, the US and the UK, all working in different mediums.

Officially launching the Scheme at the College, Minister Deenihan said: “The Per Cent for Arts Scheme provides a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between artists and their community, which greatly contributes to the distinctiveness of the local area. The Public Art Scheme has achieved a rich variety of artworks throughout the country which have made a substantial impact and created lasting memories. The three pieces that we are honouring today, namely ‘The Map’, ‘Window on the World’ and ‘The Colour Wheel’ are truly magnificent pieces and I want to heartily congratulate each of the talented artists on their works. The artworks here in MIC have greatly enhanced this magnificent new facility and it is fitting that Limerick’s oldest third level institution is the one leading the way in terms of planning and creating new facilities for the years ahead.”

The eight member shortlist panel, which comprised of architect Patrick Murphy, Director RHA, Ms. Sheila Deegan, Arts Officer, Limerick City Council and Mr. Hugh Kelly, Architect of Teamhair/Tara, amongst others, had the arduous task of examining all applications and short listing to just seven applicants all of whom were then invited to make a presentation to the panel. Following detailed discussion, the panel decided to award the commission to four separate projects; the first to local artist, Mr. David Lilburn, for his project “A Map” and the second to duo Cleary-Connolly for their proposal “Colour Wheels”. Both artworks are located at or close to the entrance to Teamhair/Tara. The third piece of work purchased under the Per Cent for Art budget was for the piece by artist Imogen Stuart, named the “Window on the World” which is situated in the main corridor of An Slí in the TARA building. Finally, the committee reserved a portion of the budget to develop a Visual Art Education Project for Primary Schools, which will be based in the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) of the College, the only unit of its kind in Ireland. This project was officially presented to the Minister by the College’s Visual Arts Team following the launch.

A Map involved carving a large scale map on the building exterior of Teamhair / TARA , ‘positioning’ Mary Immaculate College in its environment and also exploring the College from multiple historical and political viewpoints. The map reveals and plots some of the multifarious activity and influences, narratives and connections facilitated by the River Shannon; such as invasion and flight; immigration and emigration; trade, travel etc. on which contemporary Ireland is built, and which informs the continuing debate on Irish culture and identity today. Colour Wheels consists of four circles of projected light, situated at the entrance to Teamhair / TARA, that are constantly changing according to colour mixing theory, controlled by the passing flux of people in the forum space.

According to Imogen Stuart the concept behind her wooden sculpture Window on the World began when she visited the west of Ireland and observed the famine cottages. Similar to the Irish famine cottage, in traditional German homes, most windows would be separated into four panes of glass, i.e. every window has a Fensterkreuz. Kreuz also means cross in the religious sense. The very heavy surround of the piece represents the cottage while also serving to emphasise the smallness of the window.

Also speaking at the launch, Vice President of Academic Affairs at MIC, Professor Eugene Wall, said in reference to the Committee’s final choice, the Visual Art Education Project: “I think you will find, Minister, that this project reflects your expressed desire for greater public involvement in the Arts, through broadening links with Primary, Post Primary and Higher Education institutions. We are hoping that the Per Cent for Art Initiative will gather momentum and gain a life of its own through this project, which will continue and strengthen the College’s tradition of reaching out and engaging with schools and the wider community.”

Prof. Wall paid tribute to each of the individual artists and to all who had brought the Per Cent for Art Scheme to fruition at the College, saying, “We celebrate the enhancement and enrichment it has brought to our campus. Thank you and congratulations to all involved. Mary Immaculate College is a better place for your contribution.” All pieces are available for viewing at the College and all are welcome to do so.

Prof. Michael A Hayes pictured with Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Prof. Michael A Hayes pictured with Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
and local artist David Lilburn at the official launch of Per Cent for Art Scheme at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Artist Denis Connolly explaining the concept behind his piece ‘Colour Wheels’

Artist Denis Connolly explaining the concept behind his piece ‘Colour Wheels’ to Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D.,
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and President of Mary Immaculate College, Prof. Michael A Hayes.

3.	Members of the shortlist panel pictured with successful artist David Lilburn

Members of the shortlist panel pictured with successful artist David Lilburn with his art piece ‘A Map’.
L-R: Sinead Dineen (MIC Lecturer), David Lilburn, Sheila Deegan (Arts Officer Limerick City Council), John Coady (MIC Vice President, Administration & Finance, Prof. Michael A Hayes (President of MIC), Mairéad Collins (MISU President), Hugh Kelly (Architect of Teamhair / TARA) and Tanya Powers (MIC Lecturer)

Window on the World by Imogen Stuart

Window on the World by Imogen Stuart


David Lilburn, a Limerick man, is one of the foremost printmakers working in Ireland today. He studied History and Political Science at Trinity College Dublin, Lithography at the Scuole D’Arte, Urbino, Italy and Art and Design at Limerick School of Art and Design, where he also taught for a number of years. He has been exhibiting since 1977 and his work is represented in many public and private collections. Drawing and printmaking have become two of his major concerns. One preoccupation central to his art for the last fifteen years concerns the concept of ‘mapping’ and how cities are represented in art. This work includes not only topographic information, but personal experiences, observations, memories and references to history.

Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly both studied Architecture in Dublin in the 1980’s, before moving to Paris in 1990, where they have lived and worked ever since. After a lengthy collaboration with the esteemed French urban theorist Bernard Huet in the early 90’s they developed a long lasting interest in the filmed city. This, combined with a deep commitment to how art enters daily life has led them to address wide-ranging issues to do with contemporary society in their art. Described by Brian Fallon as a ‘woman of two worlds – German by birth, upbringing and artistic training, but also Irish by adoption involvement and sympathy’, Imogen Stuart is one of Ireland’s best-known artists with major works sited throughout the country. Her sculptures have been displayed in public places across Ireland and especially in churches. A retrospective exhibition of her work was held at the RHA in 2002. She has received the Oireachtas art exhibition award (1972) and the ESB Keating McLoughlin award at the RHA annual exhibition (1999), among others. She has also received honoris causa from Trinity College (2002), UCD (2004) and NUI Maynooth (2005). Imogen is closely associated with portrait commissions and her most well-known sitter was former President Mary Robinson which was commissioned for Aras an Uachtarain in 1998. She exhibited unique wood carvings, bronzes sculptures, wall reliefs and important maquette studies for some of her major religious commissions. She was recently awarded the McAuley Medal from MIC, the highest honour the College may bestow on an individual, which was presented to her by former President Mary McAleese

Click here to read a copy of the President's speech.


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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