Artist Garrett Phelan winner of International Competition to make legacy Sculpture for Grangegorman


Ciarán Benson, Chair of the Grangegorman Public Art Working Group and
Artist Garrett Phelan in Grangegorman for the announcement

‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture’ is a functional work of art where all communities from the area will meet, dance, chat, sing, think, kiss, look and listen.’ – Garrett Phelan

“Good art does good things.  In the continuing presence of a richly vibrant artwork, darker pasts and brighter futures can be fused together.” – Ciarán Benson

The Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) today announced that artist Garrett Phelan has been appointed to undertake a significant new contemporary work of art: ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND– Sculpture’ for the new quarter and it is expected to be in place by autumn 2020.

An Open call attracted 48 applicants and a five person panel, which included the internationally renowned curator Katerina Gregos, unanimously selected the artist.

Commenting on the selection process, Chair of the Grangegorman Public Art Working Group and the selection panel, Ciarán Benson said “Good art does good things.  In the continuing presence of a richly vibrant artwork, darker pasts and brighter futures can be fused together.  Nestled in the freshness of this wonderful new and diverse campus, imagine a fully working golden bandstand glinting near its heart. Then visualise the elements of this sculpture referring to the freedom of birds, to words captured and transmitted across space and time by microphone and radio signal, with simple meaningful legends inscribed like ‘It too will go OK’. Do this and you will be primed to see Garrett Phelan’s marvellous ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture’ as it comes into existence in late 2020.  All of us involved in this, the first major art commission for the Grangegorman Campus, are delighted to share that sense of anticipation.”

In speaking about his work, Garrett Phelan said “When I arrived at the idea of ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture’ I was influenced by the thinking of Dr. Joseph Lalor, a Medical Superintendent at the Grangegorman site in the 19th Century. Dr. Lalor used singing, painting, and reading as a central part of his therapeutic practice for his patients. I see Lalor as a visionary of his time and I have an affinity with his view of the importance of engagement with creativity and beauty to our emotional wellbeing.”

Phelan continued “As a contemporary work of art, ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture’ connects this aspect of Lalor’s historical practice with the present transformation of the Grangegorman site as a centre for new models for creative education and community activity. In this way I feel ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture’ respectfully acknowledges a past, fully embraces the present and will act as a positive contemporary work of art for creative engagement and collective escapism into the future.”

Chief Executive Officer of the GDA, Ger Casey said, “THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture’ is a vital part of a large public project such as Grangegorman. It gives an opportunity for reflection not only on what is happening but on what has gone before. We have already seen a huge amount of engagement with the local community and the wider public through the Grangegorman Public Art programme but it will be fantastic to see a large scale legacy work being situated here in Grangegorman, especially one with the usable nature of ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture.”

Professor David FitzPatrick, President of Technological University Dublin, said the idea behind the sculpture resonates with the ethos of the Grangegorman campus as a whole.  “This highly significant piece of public art will be a focal point for reflection on the history of this amazing site and the generations of people who have lived and worked here.  However, it will also reflect the lives, hopes and ambitions of thousands of TU Dublin students who come to Grangegorman.  The image of “THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND – Sculpture” will stay in their memories and those of all visitors to the campus in the years to come.”

The Jury comprised Ciarán Benson (Chair and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University College Dublin), Katerina Gregos, (International Curator Brussels), Anita Groener (distinguished Irish artist), Cliodhna Shaffrey (distinguished Irish curator) and Des McMahon (distinguished Irish Architect, designer of Croke Park).

This project was commissioned under Pathway 1 of ‘…the lives we live’1 ‘ the Grangegorman Public Art Programme.

1: Extract from ‘Dreams of a Summer Night’, New Collected Poems (2011), by kind permission of the author, Derek Mahon, and The Gallery Press.