in the Parklands
The first artworks were commissioned in 2002 through a symposium where seven Irish and international artists worked over a three week residency. Eight site- specific sculptures were created during the symposium and they form the nucleus of the project. The intervention of the symposium artists has added another layer of engagement for visitors to the area, by combining visual and conceptual interpretations of the geography, landscape, industrial history of peat harvesting and the people who had lived and worked there. An artist was engaged to document the symposium through photography and DVD and his work has been exhibited in print and on the Sculpture in the Parklands website.
The success of the symposium led to the formation of Sculpture in the Parklands which is managed by a Steering Committee led by representatives of the main stakeholders: the arts; Bord na Móna, (the national company established to develop Ireland’s peat resources) and members of the local community. Artists from Ireland, Denmark, USA and the Netherlands have been commissioned to make permanent and temporary work in 2005 and 2006. The internationally renowned artist Patrick Dougherty has been commissioned to create a major new art work in 2008 when Bord na Móna hosts the International Peat Conference in Ireland.
Sculpture in the Parkland is open to the public as a source of inspiration, study, recreation and education. The long-term goal of Access for All (a national disability access programme) was implemented in 2004 and will be further developed in the future with new walkways providing further wheel chair access.
The vision for Sculpture in the Parklands is to continue to invite Irish and international artist to create significant site specific works of art while living in the community as artists in residence. In addition to permanent sculpture and time- based work, the project has a commitment to commissioning video artists, composers, choreographers, and performance artists to interpret and document this unique landscape, folklore and industrial history etc.
The post-industrial landscape of cutaway bogs that now exists in the Lough Boora Parklands is a landscape unusual in Ireland, flat land reclaimed by native scrubland, flowers, animals and birds. Now, standing on a bank or on the roadway you can look across a landscape for miles. There are virtually no vertical elements in this landscape. In some ways, this landscape has returned to the vegetation and contours of the time that followed the tundra period immediately after the ice age.
This intervention in the landscape is on a large industrial scale. Bord na Móna supplied the ESB peat stations whose buildings and cooling towers dominated the landscape around Boora for years. The generating building at Ferbane has been dismantled and the distinctive cooling towers which stood alongside have been demolished.
Milled peat continues to be harvested at Boora to supply the Briquette processing plant at Derrinlough and the new West Offaly Power station at Shannonbridge. Some peat is also transported from Boora to Bord na Móna's horticultural processing plants. It is envisaged that large areas of cutaway will become available over the next 10 to 20 years. At present, however, significant tracts of bogland remain in the midlands and while the working of the bogs has scaled down, there is still considerable activity on the part of Bord na Móna in the area. Part of its operations is located at its workshops in Boora, very close to the Lough Boora Parklands office. Here, a range of machinery, equipment and other materials are manufactured, serviced and maintained.
Boora Parklands Group
The nature of the art commissioned will reflect the criteria for the commissions. The first symposium included international and national artists and this policy will continue. The first symposium also encouraged artists to use natural materials and materials associated with the working of the peatland. An arts sub-committee consisting of Irish and international artists has been established to focus on further development of the artistic intentions and procedures of Sculpture in the Parklands
In order to reflect the
breath of contemporary visual arts practise it is proposed that:
To date, the selection of artists has been undertaken by the Sculpture in the Parklands arts sub-committee which is composed of Irish and international artists and curator. At this early stage in the development of Sculpture in the Parklands it is considered vital to preserve the coherent and focused vision of the project and it is intended to continue this method of selection process until it is fully established. The heavy administrative and management burden involved in limited or open competition (for the selection of artists) is a further factor in the decision to directly select artists.
The project will accept proposals from artists for consideration. These should be presented in the form of a short written proposal, visual documentation and a C.V.
The Per Cent for Art Scheme
Sculpture in the Parklands intends to explore with Offaly County Council, the possibility of commissioning artworks for the project under the Per Cent for Art Scheme in operation by the local authority. Sculpture in the Parklands will require that work commissioned through this process meet the criteria established by the project. It is considered essential that representatives of Sculpture in the Parklands would sit on selection panels for work commissioned through the Per Cent for Art Scheme.
Briefs, Guidelines and Contracts
• The importance of
clearly worded artists briefs and guidelines is recognised by Sculpture
in the Parklands
The original collection
of works was created during the International Sculpture Symposium with
the assistance of Bord na Móna staff and the use of the workshops.
In September 2004, Marion O’Donnell also made a work on site over
a three- week period with this support. In discussions with Bord na Móna
it has emerged that this level of sponsorship and support cannot be delivered
each year. Sculpture in the Parklands (in association with Bord na Móna)
therefore proposes to manage its commissions so that:
Audiences are considered
to be an important aspect of the project. This includes the local community
as well as visitors from other parts of Ireland and abroad.
At present the sculptures
have been placed in reasonably close proximity to each other thereby facilitating
an easy tour of the artworks. In addition these are integrated with the
landscape so that it also becomes part of the experience. Emphasis on
the quality of the visitor experience will continue to be a priority.
This will include:
Kevin O'Dwyer- Artistic Director/Curator
A Steering Committee has been established which consists of:
Sculpture in the Parklands has succeeded in gaining support from partners in the form of ‘in kind’ sponsorship and funding. The continued support of existing partners and the development of new ones will be a focus of the management of Sculpture in the Parklands
Sculpture in the Parklands has identified the following actions as priorities for development. A number of these actions are central to the success of the project and therefore require ongoing intervention. Others relate to the further development of partnerships and once-off actions.
Lough Boora Parklands
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