National Sculpture Factory

National Sculpture Factory, Cork

Founded in Cork in 1989, in response to a need among fine art sculptors for affordable studio space and ancilliary visual arts services, the National Sculpture Factory (NSF) provides workshop spaces and technical assistance, as well as a range of equipment not normally available in the average art studio. Although located in Cork, the National Sculpture factory, as the name suggests, is a national body dedicated to advancing the creation and appreciation of Irish sculpture as a whole. Since its foundation, this public art centre, funded by the Arts Council, has become a significant cultural resource for the visual arts in Ireland.

As well as offering artists a creative venue for the production of high quality sculptural artworks, and assistance with technical processes, the National Sculpture Factory develops professional and technical skills by offering an extensive training program of lectures, symposia and discursive activities. This is reinforced by an Irish and international program of artistic commissions and artist residencies. Lastly, the National Sculpture Factory also establishes partnerships with other Irish art organizations to promote the art of sculpture - in bronze, stone, wood and other materials - and the creative use of the Irish government's Percent for Art Scheme.

The National Sculpture Factory workshops are situated in The Old Power House, on Albert Road, Cork. Cork City Council took over the building during the mid-1980's, and at the intervention of four local artists - Vivienne Roche, Maud Cotter, Danny McCarthy and Eilis O'Connell - leased it to the newly formed National Sculpture Factory.


As an independent, albeit publicly funded, organisation, the National Sculpture Factory commissions numerous works as a way of providing new opportunities for sculptors. These include: works by performance artists, multi-media works at dramatic architectural sites, and temporary public art interventions examining specific issues. As well as commissioning public sculptures, the NSF also stages conferences and a lecture series to examine visual arts issues affecting both artists and their audiences. Guest speakers have included visual artists: Dorothy Cross, Richard Wentworth, Kiki Smith, Anya Gallacio, Liam Gillick, Jeremy Dellar and Tony Fretton, among others.

Artist Residencies and Awards

The National Sculpture Factory offers numerous residencies to Cork-based, as well as other Irish artists. As many as twelve artists can work in the space at one time, thus benefitting from a collective work environment. In addition, it funds an artist-in-residence program which is run annually by open submission. On the European stage, the National Sculpture Factory is the participating Irish venue for the prestigious "Pépinières Européennes Pour Jeunes Artistes Programme" that facilitates the cultural exchange within Europe of artists of outstanding potential. Lastly, the National Sculpture Factory offers an annual Emerging Artist in Ireland Award, as well as an annual award to an Outstanding Student at the Crawford College of Art and Design.

Sculpture Workshop

The Factory itself is about 770 square metres in size. Space can be rented by visual artists who may require extra space to work on a particular project. Space rental includes technical assistance, use of equipment (with the exception of the kilns for which there is a separate charge), wireless internet access, PC, library, scanning, printing and photocopying facilities. Rental fees (depending on space) vary, and range from about €20 for a day, €60 for a week and €170 a month.

Business & Corporate Services

The NSF acts as a public art consultant for local authorities and helps oversee the commissioning of public art under the Per Cent for Art Scheme. Commercial clients include architects and engineering firms. The NSF also offers a service in repairing and maintaining public and private sculptures. They also run the Rotating Exhibition Scheme, which consists of small-scale art works being loaned to businesses for a fee, and these works are rotated and changed on an annual basis.

Contact Details

For more information about the activities and opportunities provided by this outstanding plastic art resource, please contact:

National Sculpture Factory
Albert Road
Cork City
Phone: 021-431-4353

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