€45,000 new ‘gateway’ sculpture planned for Birr

Birr will get a new ‘gateway’ sculpture on the Tullamore road, in a move to further complete the recommendations under the commissioned Birr Public Realm Plan, which is forming the basis of the works currently being carried out in Birr.

Birr will get a new ‘gateway’ sculpture on the Tullamore road, in a move to further complete the recommendations under the commissioned Birr Public Realm Plan, which is forming the basis of the works currently being carried out in Birr.

Birr has a superb history, strong architecture and a lively arts scene and the gateway sculpture will be selected to signal this as people arrive into Birr

The proposed site for the sculpture will be at the grassy area at the junction at Woodlands on the Tullamore Road.

The commissioning process is being organised by Offaly County Council through the Arts Office and a full detailed brief is now in circulation and can be accessed on www.offaly.ie

The commission is worth €45,000 and Offaly County Council has sourced the funding through pooling per cent for art scheme funds, which have arisen out of public capital projects in the south of the county.

Arts Officer, Sinead O’Reilly confirmed that “This funding is only accessible by commissioning an artwork. We are conscious that some people may question this as appropriate use of public funds in the current climate, however, if we don’t use the money in this fashion, we lose it. It does not get reallocated into other needs. The money is ring fenced by the Department of Environment, and we can only draw it down by commissioning a project like this.”

The now iconic sculptures Saints and Scholars by Maurice Harron on the Tullamore bypass are much admired and they are a symbol of the rich monastic heritage of Offaly as one enters the county from the N6. Similarly, it is the intention that a sculpture for Birr will be an innovative response to and symbol of Birr’s unique rich cultural and environmental heritage.

Artists are invited to submit proposals, which will be assessed by a panel appointed by the County Council which will include elected representatives, artists and professionals. This panel will shortlist 3 or 4 concepts, which will be required to further develop their proposals to include models; these models will go on public display in Birr (in April) for the public to view and make a comment. It is envisaged that the winning entry will be in place before the end of the year.

Queries are welcome to arts@offalycoco.ie or 057 93 57400.