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New Contemporary Sculpture Trail Announced for Cork City Centre

An exciting new trail of contemporary sculpture trail has been announced by Cork City Council. The project, funded by Fáilte Ireland under the Urban Animation Scheme, is intended to enhance the city centre by providing an experience that is arresting, intriguing and playful whilst illuminating the city’s unique heritage.

Island City, Cork’s Urban Sculpture Trail will see the installation of five art works over a period from June to December this year at sites across the city centre island. 

The temporary art works will then remain in situ for a period of five years, forming a unique trail through the city streets. Collectively the sculptures will create a series of experiences to be enjoyed in daylight and after dark with points of interest for all, enhancing Cork’s appeal as a visitor destination.

Cork’s National Sculpture Factory has been engaged by the City Council to support the project, including the commissioning of the art works. Four of the five sculptures were commissioned following a process conducted in 2022:  

Urban Mirror by Berlin-based Plattenbaustudio will take the coloured facades and intimate scale of Coal Quay as its starting point and reinterpret Cornmarket Street as a room without a roof containing a free-form table, held in place by an oversized “pin” with a coloured globe of light at its top.

On Carey’s Lane, contemporary Irish artist, Niamh McCann will create a suspended, lane-length sculptural piece that will take its form from the architecture, topography and incidental features along the length of the lane. Sentinals [flew through the ages in the shape of birds] will nod to Cork City’s diverse and migratory history.

Linking the past to the present, Fiona Mulholland will populate the façade of the Exchange Building on Princes Street with large-scale sculptural reliefs. The Face Cup is based on a collection of exceptional Bronze Age ceramic artefacts dating to about 1800BC, that were excavated in Cork.

Forerunner intend a present-day rupture within the cityscape on Cook Street with Boom Nouveau – a series of sculptures based on tangible everyday urban street features which mimic natural forms.

Welcoming the announcement, Lord Mayor Cllr. Deirdre Forde said, “this project highlights the value that Cork City places on the arts in our public realm. We look forward to welcoming visitors to experience this unique sculpture trail and showing Cork at its best – as a city where arts and culture are for all to enjoy, alive on our streets.”

Chief Executive Ann Doherty added, “thanks to investment in Cork by Fáilte Ireland, this is the most ambitious single public art commissioning project in the city to date. It will be a boost to the city centre and builds further on the ambitious pedestrianisation and outdoor dining infrastructure projects that have enhanced Cork City as a vibrant liveable city and destination.” 

Source: Cork City Council

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