VISUAL is set for a change this year as four major figures from Ireland’s cultural stage join the arts centre’s board of directors in the coming weeks. They are: Declan McGonagle, director of the National College of Art and Design; Catriona Crowe, head of special projects in the National Archives; Maureen Kennelly, director of Poetry Ireland; and Fiona Kearney, director of the Glucksman Gallery in UCC.
Carlow County Council chief executive and chairman of Visual’s board Tom Barry welcomed the new members.
“The interest and involvement of figures of this calibre demonstrates the critical reputation of Visual and the way in which the centre is perceived on the national stage. This is an important step in the next phase of Visual’s development under new CEO Ann Mulrooney,” he said.
Incoming board member Declan McGonagle described the development of Visual as setting “a benchmark for Irish visual arts nationally and internationally”, adding that “with the recent appointment of a new energetic CEO, there is now new potential”.
“Having been involved directly in the 2013 Turner Prize exhibition taking place in Derry as part of the first UK City of Culture programme, and having seen the unprecedented numbers of visitors to the city and the engagement of local people, there is now no doubt that when enacted in the right way, with ambition and skill and, crucially, with the right infrastructure, the visual arts add real value to the positive perception of a place, externally and internally,” Mr McGonagle said.
“The exhibition space in Derry was initially temporary and the city is working hard to create and sustain that level and scale of ongoing provision – a level of provision which Carlow already has in place with Visual.
“Carlow, therefore, is ahead of the game and the task now is to follow through on an investment for which the returns for a community are real, proven and considerable.”