Portlaoise to get two new pieces of public art

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

James Fintan Lalor statue in Portlaoise

James Fintan Lalor statue in Portlaoise

Two new street artworks are to be created for Portlaoise in the next year, to celebrate the town’s culture as it expands.

Laois County Council has announced that it is inviting applicants from professional artist and sculptors to create one piece on a new roundabout, and another in the town’s ‘cultural quarter’.

The piece for the roundabout has a budget of €71,000, and the second piece €52,000.

The roundabout artwork will be sited on the new roundabout under construction on the Abbeyleix road, beside O’Moore Park.

“As a gateway into Portlaoise, this permanent public art / sculpture should capture the essence of Portlaoise, it’s history and current cultural themes for it’s local population, visitors and people undertaking business in the town,” says Rina Whyte, Project Manager and Curator for Laois County Council.

The second piece will be placed somewhere in Portlaoise’s newly named cultural quarter.

This is an area of landmark buildings north of Main Street including the 16th century fort wall under restoration, Old St Peter’s Church, the ridge cemetery and the soon to be built library.

Artists for both pieces are asked to consider the town’s history and culture to create a piece of “living” artwork for the citizens to enjoy into the future.

“Portlaoise has many historical and cultural themes that are unknown to many of the visitors, denizens or tourists to County Laois or the town of Portlaoise itself,” the council says.

They suggest as possible themes the Gaelic history of the O’Moores and Seven Septs of Laois, medical contributions by Bartholemew Mosse and Jacobs,  and aviation of Col James Fitzmaurice and The Aldritt family.

The works are required to be done as part of the capital projects in the town, under the government’s Percentage for Art scheme.

Both pieces are expected to be complete by summer 2020. Artists must make their submissions detailing their experience, by August 9. See www.laois.ie/departments/arts