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The Crawfort, Emmet Place, pictured in 1966.
The Crawfort, Emmet Place, pictured in 1966.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

A look back through the archives at the Crawford Gallery

WITH a ringing endorsement from Ryan Tubridy, who labelled the Crawford as a "hidden gem", Cork's beloved cultural landmarks has been a big talking point this week. 

Through the decades the Gallery has welcomed a plethora of famous faces, from politicians to actors, broadcasters and sports figures.

This year is already shaping up to be a fantastic year for the Gallery, with some incredible exhibitions set to feature.

A group of students at the Crawford School of Art, Emmet Place, in December 1956.
A group of students at the Crawford School of Art, Emmet Place, in December 1956.

From now until April 13, the Crawford is hosting the Zurich Portrait Prize 2019 in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland.

This is the first time the exhibition has travelled outside of Dublin.

The stellar exhibition features the shortlist as chosen by an esteemed judging panel.

Compounding this, for the first time this year a special competition for younger artists, the Zurich Young Portrait Prize has been introduced.

The shortlisted works, by young creatives between the ages of three and 18, are also currently on display in the gallery.

Work in progress at the rear of the Crawford municipal art gallery, 1999. 
Work in progress at the rear of the Crawford municipal art gallery, 1999. 

This week the Crawford also announced its participation in Artists' Film International (AFI). 

Established by the Whitechapel Gallery, London in 2008, AFI includes 22 global partners and brings together recent moving image works by artists nominated by each venue which are presented over the course of a year in each of the 22 institutions.

For 2020, the theme of the AFI programme is 'Language' and for its inaugural participation, Crawford Art Gallery has invited Irish artist Ailbhe Ní Bhriain to present her film Inscriptions (One Here Now).

In addition, the Crawford is in an exciting phase as it looks set to tender for a design team to give the Gallery a new lease of life.

Fiona Shaw with her portrait by Victoria Russell which at the unveiling in 2002. Picture: Maurice O'Mahony.
Fiona Shaw with her portrait by Victoria Russell which at the unveiling in 2002. Picture: Maurice O'Mahony.

The Gallery was allocated €22 million back in 2018 by the National Development Plan funding and, after extensive research and consultation, detailed plans for a full refurbishment and extension process have been outlined.

Speaking to The Echo last month, Director of the Crawford, Mary McCarthy spoke about the timeframe of the ambitious project.

"Things are progressing at a ferocious pace.

"To get to the level where you can put out a tender for a design team, we have to go through a number of steps which we’re now into the final round of," she said.

"Those steps mean making the business case to government about why this is the best use for €22 million.

"We're putting in the final documentation to government around April and we would hope to be able to tender for a full design team quickly thereafter, as soon as we get sign off.

"We would hope to have people on site in 2022," Ms McCarthy continued. 

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern looking at a portrait of Roy Keane in the Crawford Gallery during the visit of the Cabinet to Cork. Picture: Maurice O'Mahony
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern looking at a portrait of Roy Keane in the Crawford Gallery during the visit of the Cabinet to Cork. Picture: Maurice O'Mahony

The new building is envisaged to be more operable, but will still preserve its unique charm. 

A larger space to store collections, a permanent space for learn and explore activities for education within the building, a dedicated area for admin offices for staff and a pronounced and new entrance to have a more high profile impact on the square on Emmett Place is just some of what’s envisioned for the Gallery. 

 Former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen at the Gallery in 2005. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision. 

Former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen at the Gallery in 2005. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision. 

"People see the opportunity for Crawford to blossom. 

"It’s always been a very vibrant organisation, but we’re just very fortunate now that there’s more investment and more interest," Ms McCarthy said.