Visualise Carlow: Carlow County Council
Visualise Carlow was launched in 2001 as an advance programme to the opening of VISUAL, Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow. Visualise Carlow was managed by the Carlow Local Authorities Arts Office, its main purpose was to articulate an artistic vision for what was to come in VISUAL– the very best in contemporary art.
Ex Machina (2006) artists Frances Hegarty and Andrew Stones was one of the Visualise projects, managed by Sinead Dowling Arts Officer Carlow, which saw three temporary site-specific projects in Carlow each year. Visualise Carlow ran from 2001 – 2009 and was a compelling nationally reputed programme that engaged with contemporary visual artists and curators, connecting site, place and people. The purpose of the visualize programme was to build an audience for and awareness of contemporary visual arts in the lead up to the opening of Visual Centre for Contemporary Art Carlow.
VISUAL – Centre for Contemporary Art & George Bernard Shaw Theatre
VISUAL – Centre for Contemporary Art and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre is strategically located in Carlow Town, in the grounds of Carlow College, on a site generously donated by the Trustees of the College. Architects for the project were award winning Terry Pawson Architects. This €18 million project, developed by Carlow Arts Centre Ltd, in association with Carlow Local Authorities, was made possible through the allocation of funding by the local authorities and a grant of €3.17 million by the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism under the ACCESS Programme.
The Centre provides a space to display temporary exhibitions of contemporary art of local, national and international standing. Whilst the George Bernard Shaw Theatre provides a home for the performing arts. VISUAL has been open since 2009 and has seen the very best in contemporary visual arts. The pioneering programme in VISUAL has evolved since 2009, and continues to break new ground, with strong partnerships at local level and an environment that nurtures and supports the artist and their practice.
VISUAL boasts an area of 3,130m², comprising a 353-seater performing arts theatre and four principal gallery spaces. The scale of the Main Gallery is without precedent in Ireland, allowing the display of large contemporary art installations. The Studio Gallery is a flexible space designed to act as a workshop/education outreach facility or studio for fostering artists-in-residence programmes. The Link Gallery takes a robust industrial aesthetic approach, a doctrine that is apparent in surfaces throughout the building. A Digital Gallery provides a generous space for the exhibition of various multimedia displays.
The Theatre receives national and regional touring productions in addition to presenting locally produced work. It comprises one performance space designed to ensure optimum and dynamic presentation of theatre, music, dance, cinema and literary readings and associated workshop space. The Theatre is also the home venue for a number of Carlow based amateur and professional groups who use it for workshops, rehearsals and presentation of their work. The centre is also available to schools and community groups.