LIMERICK City Gallery of Art is on course to reopen this summer with a new glass extension facing on to the People’s Park.
The gallery has been closed since May 2010 with its €5 million collection held in secure storage. Exhibitions continued to be held off-site at Istabraq Hall, City Hall, while items from the collection were also loaned out.
Acting director Marian Lovett told members of the Council’s sports and cultural committee this week the gallery was likely to reopen in late June or July with a new exhibition. The extension has been funded by the City Council and the Department of the Arts and director of services Pat Dowling said the Arts Council viewed the new-look gallery as “a key piece of arts infrastructure for the west of Ireland and not just for Limerick”.
“The opening of Phase 2 is a major event for the city this year,” he said.
Cllr Tom Shortt said he was impressed with how the new-look gallery was shaping up.
“I’m delighted to see the gallery is moving back into its new home in what looks to be a very exciting building. It was a very good idea to bring in the same architect who worked on the previous extension there,” Cllr Shortt said. He added the new space would “project a really sophisticated image of the visual arts in Limerick”. And Cllr Michael Hourigan was “happy to learn the gallery is going to reopen for the peak summer season”.
Ms Lovett said that a piece of sculpture - to be called “The Siege of Limerick” - had been commissioned from internationally renowned, New York-based artist Brian O’Doherty to mark the reopening.
“It comes through the Per Cent for Art programme, which allows piece of art to be commissioned or purchased as a complement to an architectural development. It’s a triangular structure and in that sense very much in keeping with the new redesign, which features three central triangles as part of the expansion programme,” she said.
“Brian is an Irish artist of considerable renown based in New York, a man now in his 80s and who would have mixed with the glitterati of the New York art society after he moved there in the 60s - as well as being a fantastic artist in his own right.”
Mr O’Doherty is known for his alter ego Patrick Ireland, who he created after the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972 and publicly buried at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2008 to mark the success of the peace process.