On Sight 2017

Mayo Arts Squad community artists creating a ‘living shelter’ in the award-winning Museum grounds of Turlough Park

On Sight 2017 Art Trail sees Mayo Arts Squad community artists creating a ‘living shelter’ at Turlough Park.

In this project Arts Squad artists work as a Meitheal (team) to create a beautiful, as well as functional, outdoor shelter or classroom. The projects sees the artists collectively and creatively imagine and construct a vibrant outdoor classroom.  They are mainly weaving willow and hazel as well as other pliable natural materials.  A willow sculpture trail will direct visitors to the shelter.

A time of inspiration and growth.  The work commenced off-site in April 2017 with gathering and sorting of local willow. The research and designing of the shelter is on-going.  The work on site is during the month of May (Bealtaine), traditionally the first month of summer in Ireland.  Bealtaine literally translating from Irish to English as ‘bright fire’ is a time of celebration and a farewell to the darkness of winter. 

 Inspiring artists. The National Museum of Ireland Irish Folklife Collections includes a vast collection of traditional baskets made in a great variety of shapes and sizes and many different functions in the home, on the land and on the sea. Many of these are on display throughout the Museum's four floors of exhibition galleries at Turlough Park and are an inspiration to the artists in their work. 

Many uses for the 'shelter'. The completed shelter will offer a space to groups, families and individuals visiting the Museum and grounds.  Museum visitors are invited to make suggestions for its use,  and to book the use of the space.  It can be used as a classroom base to explore the ever-changing wonders, habitats, biodiversity of Turlough Park gardens. It can be a space for artists to work outdoors including future On Sight installations.  It can be a space of contemplation and rest. It may be an inspiration to others considering working with willow or intrigued by the techniques of basketry, one of the oldest traditional crafts.

Sited in award-winning gardens. The site for the shelter is in a secluded but accessible scenic wooded area to the rear of the exhibition galleries. Close to one of Turlough Park’s ‘veteran’ beech trees.   It is one of the many fine mature trees enhance the nearly 30 acre Turlough Park, a legacy from the eighteenth-century parkland.  

The completed shelter will be officially launched on mid-summer, June 21.