|Artist Name(s)||Alan Meredith|
Newpark Comprehensive school is a state school, founded in 1972 under the patronage of the Church of Ireland. It is a pluralist community embracing in terms of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. Newpark aims to develop the academic, intellectual, practical, artistic and sporting abilities and skills of its students. It encourages its students to develop their capacity to deal with analytical and logical processes while fostering a delight and enjoyment in artistic and spiritual activities.
In 2013 the Department of Education and Skills gave the go ahead for the construction of a new school building and refurbishment of the Belfort House costing €12.5m. Funding from the percent for art scheme was approved as part of the construction budget. This has transformed the campus and created a great environment for learning and teaching for students and staff and all who use the campus.
The proposed layout of a quadrangle by the school’s architect created an open and spacious centre-piece. The intention was to reinforce this space by developing the fourth side, as it was the only side with no buildings. A line of timber benches were set against the concrete planters to create a thickening of social space, one which would belong primarily to the students.
A spatial relationship is created between the wooden structures and the school building with its pitched roofs, while a pattern of enclosing sculptural elements become less intense towards the street, as students move out towards the wider world.
Since humans began to form social communities they have built structures to enable the activities of daily life. The new structures, like a fallen tree, offer a gathering point for the communal interactions of Newpark Comprehensive. Extending up into the sky, the Irish oak columns are firmly anchored to the ground, bolstered by a wide stance. The compositional elements of the structures are expressed, while an awareness of how they were built, is also preserved imbuing it with a sense of honesty and material presence. The solid oak benches retain the feeling of having once been part of a tree but are refined to reveal the presence of human hand; symbolizing how ideas now carved and cast began with thoughts of a primordial forest settlement.
A book, documenting the whole process, including texts by the curator, teachers and Emmett Scanlon (Architect/Critic) is currently being finalized.
Alan Meredith was born in 1991 in Laois, Ireland. Alan’s work to date straddles the boundaries of contemporary craft, sculpture and architecture and has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally. Alan began working with wood from an early age and his ongoing work is informed by a sympathetic understanding of material.
His studio’s creative approach is tied to the desire to make meaningful and appropriate interventions within a given context, based on this informed understanding of material and the means by which it may be manipulated.
Alan has exhibited at Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, University College Dublin, Sculpture in Context, RDS National Crafts Competition, Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival, Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Konsfack Stockholm, Tent London, UCCA Beijing and SoFine Art editions Dublin. Awards include Irish Woodturners Guild president’s prize and the Irish American Cultural Institute, Muriel Gahan Scholarship.
Graduating with a Masters Degree in Architecture from University College Dublin in September 2015, Alan currently works out of his studio in County Laois, imagining and creating one-of-a-kind and speculative pieces for both public and private clients.
|Commissioner Name||Newpark Comprehensive School|
|Commissioning process||Limited Competition|
|Project commission dates||December 1, 2013 - February 28, 2015|
|Art Practice||Arts and education|
|Funded By||Department of Education and Skills|
|Percent for art||Yes|
|Budget Range||35000 - 70000 euro|
|Project commission start date||01/12/2013|
|Project commission end date||28/02/2015|
|Content contributor(s)||Alan Meredith, Derek Lowry, Sally O'Leary|
Student engagement - studio visits and workshops
|Associated professionals / Specialists involved||
Curated by Aisling Prior.
Photographer - Ste Murray www.ste.ie
Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.