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About Us | Project Arts Centre | Dublin
{2jtab: About Us}Located at the heart of artistic life in Dublin, Project Arts Centre remains at the forefront of cutting edge, high-quality art in Ireland. With an extensive programme covering everything from visual arts to dance, music and theatre, there is plenty to fuel the imagination from an exciting year-round programme.

Project Arts Centre is dedicated to enabling artists to create work of high quality and ambition, while cultivating an atmosphere of adventure and creative enquiry for audiences and artists alike.

Home to two performance spaces and a gallery, Project Arts Centre offers diverse and innovative contemporary artwork.

The gallery space presents a series of free exhibitions throughout the year. A mix of Irish and International, solo and group shows, ultising a variety of media are open daily to the public (Monday to Saturday).

The performance spaces showcase productions from some of Ireland's most successful companies alongside the work of new and emerging artists. Project Arts Centre is also host to a number of productions from local and internationally focused festivals including: Dublin Writers' Festival; Dublin Theatre Festival; Dublin Fringe Festival; Dublin Dance Festival; 12 Points! Europe's New Jazz Festival and many more.

{2jtab: Programming}Our programming includes all contemporary art forms: theatre, dance, live art, video and film, traditional, jazz, electronic, classical and popular music, painting, sculpture, photography, multi-disciplinary installations and performance pieces.

Project Arts Centre’s mission is to:

• Present contemporary art work by Irish and international artists
• Encourage and facilitate new audiences to engage with the work of contemporary artists
• Commission new work by artists of all disciplines and to produce commissioned work
• Support artists during the process of making work through the provision of technical expertise, access to equipment and ongoing critical dialogue
• To record and document the ongoing artistic process and outcomes of making artwork in a contemporary context
• Generate informed and critical debate about the work of artists in contemporary society
• Publicise and promoting artists' work nationally and internationally
• Offer an integrated resource and support structure to visiting artists
• Evaluate work with artists, using criteria grounded in the understanding that experiment and failure are integral to the ongoing development of artists' practice
• Evaluate the relationship between the public and the artwork presented in the context of Project Arts Centre.

Submissions Performance
Project Arts Centre does not accept unsolicited playscripts as we do not currently have the resources for play development or production.

Project Arts Centre is interested in all performing arts that embrace a contemporary sensibility.

Proposals should be addressed to:

Artistic Director
Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Submissions Visual Arts
The Project Arts Centre Gallery is a curated space. While we do not solicit proposals for exhibitions, we are always interested in developments in contemporary art practice. If you would like to send images of work or a weblink to the curatorial team, you may do so through the "Contact" section of this website. Otherwise artists, writers, academics, musicians, producers and theoreticians are welcome to send material to:

Curator of Visual Arts
Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Please do not include any original material as this will not be returned, but kept on file for Project Arts Centre.

{2jtab: Facilities}Project Arts Centre is consists of the following facilities:

Performance/ Gallery Space
1. A ground floor gallery space
2. A ground floor multi-purpose space (Cube) - capacity <=90 seated
3. A first floor multi-purpose space (Space Upstairs) - capacity <=220 seated
4. Four dressing rooms and green room

Project Arts Centre is completely accessible for wheel chair users

The two performance spaces are also fitted with the Loop system to assist those with hearing impairment.

If you require any further information regarding the technical specifications for these facilities please direct your enquiries to our Production Manager, Joseph Collins.

Project Bar
Project Bar is open during performances, serving a range of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks. Tea and coffee are also served.

{2jtab: History}

Project Arts Centre began life as a three-week festival at the Gate Theatre in November 1966. Although the initial impetus was to produce a single play this soon evolved into a season of experimental music, visual arts, seminars, children's theatre and a hot debate on censorship with special guest, Edna O'Brien.  Project's first exhibition showed the work of four artists John Behan, Charlie Cullen, Michael Kane and John Kelly.

Such was the energy of this season that the founders co-operated to establish a permanent alternative centre for the performing and visual arts.  In 1967 Project Gallery opened in Lower Abbey Street with an exhibition of graphic works by John Behan.

In 1969 Project was forced to move to a basement in the YMCA further down Lower Abbey Street.  At this stage, film screenings and plays were introduced to the programme and the Project Gallery became the Project Arts Centre.  Paintings that were on show during the day came off the walls at night when the space was taken over for performance.  Project was now providing a venue for the work of writers and directors like Jim and Peter Sheridan, Vinnie McCabe and Neil Jordan.

In 1972 Project was on the move again to a disused factory in South King Street where Robert Ballagh showed his response to Bloody Sunday with chalk outlines of 13 bodies and chicken blood.  In the theatre space directors Alan Stanford and Chris O'Neill filled every slot and playwright Tom Murphy's first work On The Outside was premiered.

Finally, in 1974, Project settled in the former Dollard Printing Works at East Essex Street.

Three years later, with the financial assistance of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council, Project purchased the site and remained there until 1998. The venue at East Essex Street consisted of a theatre/performance space, gallery and cinema.  Here actors such as Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson developed their acting skills.  Music came to the fore with the 24 hour Dark Space Festival and U2, The Virgin Prunes and The Boomtown Rats all played on stage at Project.  Nigel Rolfe's performances, Gay Sweatshop and Councillor Ned Brennan's outrage about 'funny bunnies' all form important parts of Project's past.

In 1982 fire destroyed part of the premises, forcing the closure of the cinema and the loss of the foyer and office accommodation.  The 80s also saw Rough Magic become Project's flagship theatre company.  Olwen Fouéré and Roger Doyle formed Operating Theatre during this time, and pushed the boundaries of performance work in Ireland.

In 1991 the Board of Project instigated a programme of redevelopment to improve the venue and facilities.  This culminated in the temporary closure of Project's long-term base at East Essex Street in 1998.  Artist-in-residence Maurice O'Connell's Demolishing Project marked this event in February 1998, by inviting people to literally mark Project with a message or thought on the notion of Project and the old building.

In 1997, Project had relocated its performance space to project @ the mint.  This temporary venue was located above a snooker club and fortune-teller in Henry Place, Dublin 1.  The first show in project @ the mint was Hit and Run by CoisCéim Dance Theatre in January 1997.  New companies like Bedrock and Loose Canon developed their craft and established their audience base.  Dance, in particular, found a new home and work by Daghdha Dance and Paul Johnson of Mandance was showcased in this space.  The visual arts programme at Project continued offsite at various locations and across different media.

Just as the mint was opened with a dance show, so it was closed in August 1999 with Without Hope or Fear - Work-in-Progress by Paul Johnson.

The new Project building was developed by Temple Bar Properties Ltd. and funded under the Operational Programme for Local Urban and Rural Development of the EU, and by the Department of the Environment, Local Government and Dublin Corporation.  It was designed by Shay Cleary Architects and was opened by An Taosieach Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D. on Monday 12th June 2000.  The building was introduced to the public with the inaugural exhibition Somewhere Near Vada, curated by artist Jaki Irvine, who was commissioned to select artists' works using the moving image.

Project has had an eventful history and evolution, one which has mirrored the political and cultural trends of its time.  It has developed from a voluntary, artist-led co-operative to the current structure of a full-time artist-driven company.


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