THE Director of the Crawford Art Gallery has said the Government’s allocation of €3.32m for the Gallery represents “a very strong commitment to Cork”.
The funding, which was announced today by the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin TD, will enable the Gallery to move on to the next phase of a long-planned redevelopment.
The redevelopment will form part of the Project Ireland 2040 plan.
Speaking to The Echo, Gallery Director Mary McCarthy said the funding will get the Galley “right through all the procurement of the design team and all the way to planning”.
“It’s a major boost of confidence because it means that there’s commitment to the project and it’s on time.
“It’s going to be one of the biggest public projects in Cork in the next few years, so it’s a very strong commitment to Cork,” she continued.
Works are set to begin on site in the spring of 2022 for a “complete renovation” of the much-loved Gallery.
A larger space to store collections, a pronounced and new entrance to have a more high profile impact on the square on Emmet Place and opening up many more rooms to the public than are currently is just part of what’s envisaged for the Crawford.
The extraordinary building from three centuries is made up of one wing from the 1700s, another from the 1800s and one from 1999.
The redevelopment, Ms McCarthy states, will see the three wings undergo “a complete conservation and upgrade”.
Rose McHugh, Chair of Crawford Art Gallery said the investment is "a real boost of confidence" for the Gallery, its Board and staff and its audiences at this time of global challenge.
"This major investment in the Gallery is a once in a lifetime ambitious opportunity to ensure Crawford is enhanced and sustained into the future.
"We look forward to working with the Department, the OPW, Cork ETB, Cork City Council and all stakeholders on this project over the coming years.”
Minister Martin said the investment will facilitate “a redevelopment which will ensure that the Crawford Art Gallery can continue to play a significant part in the cultural life of the country.” “The Crawford Art Gallery is the only National Cultural Institution operating in its entirety outside Dublin.
"This gives it a unique perspective and position.
"I would like to thank the Chair and Director and team in the Crawford for their continuing work in delivering an artistic programme which engages and challenges,” she continued.
In June, the Gallery reopened to the public after being closed for 100 days due to the pandemic.
Ms McCarthy said public support has been fantastic.
“The weekend numbers are nearly back to pre-Covid levels and we’ve had a lot of national tourists as well as locals.
“The public are really appreciating somewhere to go and we’re delighted that our restaurant is very busy as well,” she said.
“We’re changing out shows at the minute now and we’re opening a big show on October 23 on Terence MacSwiney and the commemorations,” she continued.
The Gallery is open to the public seven days a week.