Funding of 29 million euros confirmed for the “oasis” of the Crawford Art Gallery


Some € 29 million will be spent on redeveloping the 200-year-old Crawford Art Gallery “marvelous and peaceful oasis” in Cork City over the next four years, it has been confirmed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister of Tourism and Culture Catherine Martin were on hand in Cork today to officially announce the design consultants for the redevelopment of the Crawford, which welcomed 260,000 annual visitors ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic .

The Crawford collection has over 3,000 works, ranging from 18th century Irish and European painting and sculpture to contemporary video installations.

The building, parts of which date back to the early 18th century, needs to be significantly improved “to meet the changing demands of a vibrant national cultural institution,” he said.

The Council of National Cultural Institutions is a statutory body established under the Heritage Fund Act 2001 and its members include the National Archives, National Library of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, National Gallery of Ireland and the Heritage Council.

The government had allocated 460 million euros to national cultural institutions as part of the Project Ireland 2040 capital investment project, which had an overall price of 116 billion euros before the pandemic.

Mr Martin said the Crawford “had struck well above its weight for many years” and was the only national cultural institution to be located in its entirety outside of Dublin.

The “wonderful oasis of peace” is “essentially Cork”, said Mr Martin, adding that the gallery personified Cork’s modern transformation and that the time had come for its redevelopment.

Ms Martin approved Crawford’s business plan last September, giving the green light to the € 29 million investment.

Grafton Architects has been announced as the Principal Design Consultant following a two-step procurement process, and the company will be responsible for providing all construction-related technical advice and design services to the Crawford Art Gallery and at the OPW.

Culture Minister Catherine Martin and Crawford Art Gallery Director Mary McCarthy in today’s announcement. Photo: Daragh McSweeney / Provision

“It was a very difficult time for the artists and I was very happy to set up an art acquisition fund last year, which resulted in the purchase of 422 works of art from 70 artists working in Ireland for the national collection, ”she said.

“This program has been a huge success and has provided vital support to our artists while enhancing the national collection. It is inspiring to see some of the works purchased under the program on display here today.”

Crawford Art Gallery President Rose McHugh said the installation’s next phase of development is “a unique opportunity to enhance the architectural and artistic life of our city and region”.


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