Completed in 1862 as a Model School, the present building has undergone two extensive redevelopments. The first was in 2000 when the building was completely refurbished and extended by McCullough Mulvin Architects. The centre was redeveloped for a second time by architects Sheridan Woods between 2008-2010. The Model is now a world-class visitor centre that boasts a restaurant and coffee shop, a bookshop, a wonderful gallery circuit, a purpose-built performance space, and a suite of impressive artist studios on the top floor, with enviable views of Sligo Town and County.
This award-winning building is home to one of the most notable public art collections in Ireland, which features one of the largest public holdings of work by Jack Butler Yeats in existence. The Niland Collection also features a broad range of both traditional and contemporary works by artists including Norah McGuinness, Dorothy Cross, Alice Maher, Clodagh Emoe, Eamon O’Kane, Sean McSweeney, Estella Solomons, and Paul Henry amongst many others.
The Model’s acclaimed contemporary art programme features several major exhibitions of noted national and international contemporary artists each year. Most recently this has included solo presentations by Martin Creed, Peter Wächtler and Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (2018). The Model is known for experimental, urgent programming that critically tackles pressing contemporary issues such as the refugee crisis (Turbulence, 2018). Other thematic exhibitions reflect the way in which contemporary artists address philosophical questions that are pertinent to the lived experience (Psychic Lighthouse, 2015, Ghosts of Other Stories, 2016, Future Perfect, 2018). The Model develops projects in collaboration with artists, and is itself a site of artistic production, with new commissions, eight purpose-built studios and an artists’ residency programme.
The Model’s exhibitions programme has included solo shows by Gerard Byrne, Duncan Campbell, Nina Canell, Phil Collins, Dorothy Cross, Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Patrick Hall, Susan Hiller, Ronnie Hughes, William Kentridge, Sean Lynch, Sean McSweeney, Elizabeth Price, Patti Smith, Peter Wächtler and Andy Warhol, amongst many others. The Model also hosts Irish and international artists, writers and musicians in its residency programme, recently including Yorgos Sapountzis, Nasan Tur, and Suzanne Walsh.
The Model has a vibrant music programme which includes an eclectic mix of the contemporary and classical. The Model regularly commissions new music projects that respond to other strands of our programme such as Lorcán MacMathuna The Táin, 2018; and Ensemble Eruí The Music has Come, 2014. We also work in partnership with outstanding local music curators such as Con Brio and The Sligo Baroque Orchestra.
The Model’s weekly series of Irish and international independent film is programmed in partnership with Sligo Film Society, one of Ireland’s most long established film clubs. At the same time, we present screening programmes alongside exhibitions, and projects curated either in-house or by invited artists.
Integral to all aspects of the Model’s programme is an extensive offering of educational opportunities for children and adults, including, in recent years, groundbreaking initiatives such as Sligo Global Kitchen, Touch the Sky (in partnership with RehabCare) and Bart Lodewijks’ Unforgettable Neighbourhoods.