Positioned just off the southern coast of Ireland, the city of Cork may be small, but it is a thriving hub for the arts. Named the European Capital of Culture in 2005, and is renowned worldwide for its annual jazz and film festivals. Within this harbour of creative talent, this guide provides a quick insight into the most prominent contemporary art galleries and art centres in the city and its environs.
Supporting local contemporary arts and crafts, the Lavit Gallery is among Cork’s longest-established independent galleries. Located on Father Matthew Street just off the South Mall, the gallery spreads over two floors and showcases a variety of work, from landscape paintings to prints to ceramics. It is owned by the Cork Arts Society, and once a year, the gallery hosts their annual exhibition. Furthermore, the gallery is linked to the local art college, the Crawford College of Art and Design, and every year sponsors an award for the most talented and promising student from the final year show. The Lavit Gallery provides an artistic oasis from the busy streets of the city.
The Lavit Gallery, 5 Father Matthew Street, Cork, Ireland, +353 21 427 7749
Linked to the local Crawford College of Art and Design and Cork Institute of Technology, the Wandesford was added to Cork’s art map in 2010. The gallery makes up one wing of a larger warehouse arts complex which includes the Backwater Artists Group and Cork Printmakers. The gallery not only provides a space for students from CIT and the Crawford to exhibit their work, but also organises a number of educational opportunities for the public. The gallery’s design is a fusion of crisp white walls with the period features of the 18th-century warehouse. It has hosted exhibitions of notable local talent, such as sculptor Maud Cotter, to internationally renowned photographer of the stars Terry O’Neill, making this gallery one to visit.
This non-profit centre prides itself on being Cork City’s newest contemporary art space. Housed in the former revenue government buildings on Sullivan’s Quay, Sample-Studios occupies three floors with sixty arts-dedicated workshops and projects aimed at supporting and progressing Cork’s contemporary art sphere. Sample-Studios promotes not only the visual arts through their TACTIC programme, but also the performing arts, by hosting a performing arts programme. While new to the city, this centre has already made a name for itself in Cork City among locals and visitors alike.