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Public art can take many forms and perform many functions. It may be an object of civic pride or a cause of stimulating debate. It may provide entertainment. The scope of public art has widened to include not just sculpture, architecture and painting, but also music, literature, film, video, multimedia and sound art, as well as the various per forming arts including theatre, dance, opera, performance and live art.
Per Cent for Art Scheme
In recent times we have all become more conscious of the environment and the effect it has on our lives. Art has a vital role to play in our environment and has become an integral part of many urban areas. A high quality environment is essential for good quality of life and high quality public art is necessary to create that environment, be it an open space, public building, hospital or education facility.
- The Per Cent for Art Scheme is an opportunity for collaboration between artist and community.
- Public art needs to be developed and created with local ownership in mind. The Government is committed to public art through its approval of funding for this scheme and it has already achieved a rich variety of artworks.
- Many artworks, although perhaps only experienced in passing, make an impact and create lasting memories. The potential to exploit this scheme to its fullest is available to all Government departments, its agencies and local authorities. This potential holds enormous opportunities to shape the spaces we inhabit.
These guidelines are intended to represent a first step in developing a national approach to public art. It is hoped they will result in artworks that will excite our imagination and increase our engagement.
- Shelter Me From The Rain – A Field Guide to Love in an Irish Town. A new Opera by Brian Irvine (music) and John McIlduff (text) commissioned by Carlow County Council Arts Office as part of the Per Cent for Art Commissioning Scheme in 2011.
- Open Windows commission out of an initiative by Carlow County Council Arts Office (part of the Per Cent for art commissioning scheme) for mental health service users in Carlow in 2012.
Open Windows – by Denis Roche
Open Window is an innovative art intervention currently available in the National Stem Cell Transplant Unit at St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, where patients undergo treatment for leukaemia and other haematological malignancies. Due to the high risk of infection, patients are treated in single, en suite, air filtered rooms. There are restrictions on room decor and visiting. This challenging environment makes the patients feel extremely isolated from the outside world.
Technology and art is used to create a virtual window for each patient which is uniquely theirs and which they control. The window is created using a video projector and audio speakers. A remote control allows the patient to switch art channels or open onto a number of “virtual places” which provide a range of art, media or experiences. The aim of Open Window is to reduce the sense of isolation, provide an opportunity for reflection and a sense of connection with the outside world. Patients are actively involved in the commissioning process and regularly consulted by the curator.
Following meetings with the consultant psychiatrist in Carlow/Kilkenny Mental Health service, it was identified that the best approach to adapting Open Window for use by mental health service users was to focus on the psychological isolation and stigma experienced by service users. People who are diagnosed with a mental illness experience a real sense of loss about the fact that their hopes and dreams or life ambitions have been interfered with by the diagnosis of illness. The progression of this theme and approach will allow the artistic team to engage with all service users across the county, whether they are in hospitals or living in the community.
This project is a collaboration between Carlow County Council Arts Office (part of the Per Cent for art commissioning scheme), VISUAL, Vivartes, HSE and Carlow IT.