Mayo County Council logo

‘LANDMARK’ – Public Art Programme in Castlebar, Co. Mayo

Mayo County Council received an overwhelming response to the call for submissions for the public art programme LANDMARK in Castlebar, Co Mayo.   The funding for this project has been provided by the Percent for Art Scheme, Dept. of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Housing Capital Programme.

Mayo County Council provided a range of opportunities for a number of artists from all public art form disciplines, including music, dance, drama, literature, film, visual and performing arts, within the programme, which comprised four separate strands. 


Composer Ian Wilson from Leitrim will undertake the residency programme.  Wilson was born in Belfast in 1964 and obtained the first DPhil in composition to be awarded by the University of Ulster which, in 1993, commissioned his orchestral work Rise in celebration of the tenth anniversary of its foundation. His music has been performed and broadcast on six continents.  Wilson has worked as composer in residence with Northern Ireland Arts Council (Composer in Education), Leitrim County Council (Composers in Residence) and Glencullen electoral district in DunLaoghaire/Rathdown Local Authority (Double Trio), on a composition with local amateur choirs and a traditional singing group in Wexford (Harbouring) and has worked on public art commissions with Sligo County Council (Pieces of Elsewhere).  Double Trio marks the beginning of an exciting new direction for Wilson, where he uses extracts from interviews with people to form the basis of actual musical material, which then results in a piece of music that reflects, in some way, the people interviewed.   Wilson’s work in Mayo will comprise of a 12 month residency involving a variety of community groups culminating in an original composition and its performance by The Contempo Quartet, throughout the county.  Through group and individual interviews, Wilson will compose a work which reflects both the place and the its evolving identity, physically and socially, from a number of different angles that will ultimately reflect the area’s broad character at this particular moment in the 21st century. 


Former AIB Prize winners Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly both studied Architecture in Dublin in the 1980’s, before moving to Paris in 1990, where they have lived and worked ever since. Their work develops laterally, often evolving rapidly and taking many forms, responding to the particular and individual needs of each project and context. They believe that art should be at the service of society, and their work is a constant enquiry into contemporary social and cultural questions.  As part of the LANDMARK programme they will work with local schools and youth groups to develop a series of four discreet installations entitled “On Sight”.  This project focuses on a common everyday activity; how we look, what we see.  The artist’s current field of interest focuses on sight and perception as a development of their interactive and participative work of the last several years.  To further their work, Cleary and Connolly are currently engaged in a collaborative art/science research project with scientists from the Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, Paris and the Clarity Centre, DCU which will culminate in an exhibition of new works at Farmleigh House.  The question of stereo vision, how the brain synthesizes visual information from right and left eye to make a 3D model of the world around us, will be the focus of the artists’ commission in Mayo.  

Elaine Griffin’s practice spans the mediums of print, sculpture – using glass, bronze, bone china, concrete and light, and digitally rendered media.  In 2005, two works from her mixed media interactive exhibition, Arrested Development, were shortlisted for inclusion in the prestigious Coburg Glass Prize, which took place in Germany, making her the only Irish artist to be included in the competition since its inception in 1977.  Mayo based, Griffin has proposed a series of subtle, small bronze sculptural works entitled “Landmarks” plus a permanent information/display board for the LANDMARK Programme.  The sculptural pieces will be sited at various points of interest around the Lough Lannagh Walking Loop, making a sculpture trail.  The form of the sculptural works will be taken from objects either gathered on site or intrinsically related to the site itself and will embrace the archaeology, history and ecology of the location. 


Matt & Rob Vale are a film/installation artist and lighting designer collaboration, creating visually inventive, memorable artworks and theatre events. Their work ranges from very large scale illumination to small scale dvd, but always working to create something unique and specific to its location and community. The duo has proposed a live participatory performance light work and a later projection of the filmed event, entitled “Lough Lannagh Ripples”.  The artists will create a unique live participatory light work along the lakeside. The piece would involve collaborating with as many as 100 individuals, from schools, community groups, associations and others within Castlebar.  Using the basic principal of the well known Mexican wave as a start point, the participants would use extremely bright colour changeable torches.  The artwork will be viewed live, but there are plans to also film the performance from various angles, allowing a filmic version of the piece to be developed.

The second performance/temporary commission was awarded to The Performance Coorporation.  This dynamic company aim to create daring theatrical adventures that energize, challenge, inspire and entertain audiences.  Their work strives to stretch the boundaries of where, how and what theatre can be. The team relishes taking audiences on site-specific journeys to out-of-the-way places, and transforming the commonplace into a realm of dramatic possibilities.Their proposed site specific theatrical event entitled “Across the Lough” will see several performances per day over 3 days, recorded and/or transmitted in such a way in order that a wider audience can experience the work, in which a boat man tells stories of life’s journey as he rows you across Lough Lannagh.  The work finds inspiration in both the classical and the contemporary.  The over arching structure is derived from the Greek myth of Charon – the ferryman who carried the souls of the newly deceased from the land of the living to the underworld of the dead.  The content of the performance will be inspired by interviews with older people in Castlebar.  In particular the research will focus on people who have an association with Lough Lannagh and its surrounds. 


Mayo County Council was keen to provide commissions and opportunities for artists at all stages of their career and for networking and shadowing opportunities through a combined programme of commissions designed to compliment each other.  Proposals by Finnouala Hanahoe and Jennifer Brady were commissioned under the LANDMARK Training Bursary Scheme. 

Fionnuala Hanahoe is interested in how engagement in creative processes in our public environment can alter the way we interact with and within these environments.   Influenced by modular early learning children’s toys such as jigsaws and building blocks, Hanahoe investigates ways to encourage people to re-engage with a their creativeness and playfulness, that is inherent in all of us. Through the use of carefully selected materials and the creation of modular systems, Hanahoe aims to evoke curiosity in the object, the viewer and the environment. 

Jennifer Brady works primarily with moving image and sound, creating works which use an engagement with people and places as their point of departure.  Adopting a semi-anthropological approach in gathering research about a particular site or group of people, she collects stories and historical material which is then used to inform the work and developed into a narrative.  As part of the LANDMARK Public Art Programme Brady proposes to develop a video work and original score, employing an experimental approach to video, sound and song in drawing together both the site of Lough Lannagh and the Castlebar Song Contest. 


All of the commissions have a very strong participatory element and this will mean that local communities will have a number of opportunities to be involved in the above projects.  Gaynor Seville, Public Art Co-ordinator with Mayo Councty Council said ‘The programme aims to provide quality access to the arts for local people through a range of opportunities to interact with artists through design, consultation, workshops or other related activities, as well as being members of any audience for any final unveiling, event or product.’  Please keep an eye on local press for announcements about these events. 

CONNECT – A professional development programme

The Connect programme proposes to complement the Landmark Public Art Programme, relating to some of the content and context of the work being produced as a part of this unique public art programme.  The programme proposes a series of educational and outreach activities, group discussions, networking opportunities and useful tools that will facilitate knowledge share, professional development and confidence in the Artist or Arts Practitioner.  The key corner stone of the programme is that it is led by Artists, with the support of Mayo County Arts office, for Artists and Arts Practitioners.   The Connection programme also hopes to reflect on issues raised by visual artists based in the North West and by connecting those artists to professional development tools and resources.

The LANDMARK Public Art Programme aims to culminate in a number of high quality contemporary artworks, to be launched at special events over a number days in late autumn 2011, which will be specific and have relevance to the town, its people, its history and its built and natural environment.   


Further information is available from:

Gaynor Seville, Public Art Co-ordinator, Mayo County Council

E:  T: 00353 (0) 94 904 7561

Posted: 08/02/2011

  More Mayo County Council and Local Government Websites