Support the Arts – Interview with Annie Fletcher, IMMA
The Dean loves art.
Being an art hotel is at the forefront of everything they do. Ever since The Dean opened their doors in 2014, we have strived to create and maintain an inspiring environment for all guests to enjoy. Being based so close to Dublin’s Creative Quarter constantly inspires creativity for their guests and featured artists. The Dean’s walls are lined with cutting edge original works from over 40 Irish artists. Curated by James Earley, their collection features works from the likes of Me&Him&You, Eoin Holland, Mark Francis, Richard Gorman, Patrick Scott and Samuel Walsh, to name just a few.
The Dean and The Devlin are the ongoing hospitality partners of IMMA, a collaboration that fosters an artistic environment for artists and art-lovers alike.
We caught up with Annie Fletcher, director of IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) to talk all things lockdown, local art on our doorstep and how you can visit the Bharti Kher exhibition during your stay.
Firstly, how are you and your team?
We are doing really well thanks, like everybody closing the doors and leaving the building was very hard, but we immediately rallied and realised that once everyone was safe that there was plenty we could do while working remotely. It has given us a chance to rethink what all of our talented staff could do and they came up with all kinds of ideas for programming but also writing and editing our website for example – everybody rowed in, it was amazing. Now as we re-open in stages over the summer it’s really wonderful to see many of the public facing staff back in the building and of course the most awesome of all is to open up the gates to the grounds of IMMA; the Royal Hospital Kilmainham – the meadows and the formal gardens and just the sheer scale of the site and its incredible history and architecture are such a gift to Dublin and are meant to be experienced so it’s just lovely to see visitors enthusiastically visiting the grounds again.
Like many local businesses at this unusual time, we have all been adapting to change. We are delighted to see IMMA’s online screenings and exhibitions come to life online. What can online visitors expect?
We are always pretty proud of our online programme but it has really escalated at this time. Many of the programmes we do with visitors online and in fact we increased outreach across the country. We also contributed to RTE’s Home School Hub. What was a real revelation was #IMMAInsideOut where people send their own images to IMMA; artists, art lovers, photographers, kids, you name it and what came in was massive and extraordinary – you can trace each week of the lockdown through these images – it’s an incredible record I think. It’s a history visual essay all made collectively via social media! And, of course, the launch of IMMA Screen has been a really important way to show some of IMMA’s most important film work form our Collection accompanied each time with a brand new interview with the artists looking back at the work they made – they are super compelling interviews and, of course, the films are already amazing and people would never normally get to see them online. They have been hugely popular; like a new lease of life for the film works in our Collection.
Dublin is one of the most creative cities in the world with its vibrant mix of street art, statues and modern buildings. As a local to Dublin, what would you recommend as a must see for anyone visiting?
Gosh where to start?! My two kilometers during the height of the lockdown was around the Docklands and I feel like I know every inch now! If you are excited by new architecture and want to get a sense of the extraordinary ambitions of Dublin Port, then a walk along the North and South Docks are for you! That part of the city is changing dramatically and there are so many exciting plans afoot there.
We are ready to explore Dublin! From your perspective, where can we go in Dublin to delve into true Irish Art?
Of course in terms of art there are so many brilliant contemporary art spaces in Dublin: the RHA; the Project Arts Centre; the Hugh Lane; and one my favourites the Douglas Hyde Gallery right in the heart of Trinity College.
Any insights into hidden art pieces on our doorstop?
Right near The Dean is the one of the lovely hidden jewels in terms of green space; the Iveagh Gardens and of course the wonderful Stephens Green with its newly restored Henry Moore Plaza and near by the brand new MoLI Museum of Literature Ireland.
Is there a way that tourists can support the arts at this time?
Yes, of course, artists are so creative and people often think art is beyond their price range but you would be surprised. One of the best ways to support the arts is to buy more affordable artists editions, in fact during the lockdown the support for artists has been huge through the purchasing of IMMA’s Limited Artists Editions. Available through the IMMA Shop, the IMMA Editions are limited edition signed prints by Irish and international artists starting from €50. This is a great way for tourists to directly support our education and exhibitions programmes.
We were very excited to visit Bharti Kher show – A Consumate Joy and then lockdown happened. Could you tell us more about her solo show?
We first showed Bharti’s work last year in an large scale exhibition called Desire: A Revision and we found some of her vibrant and powerful sculpture really impacted on Irish audiences and so it was clear we thought Irish visitors would really respond to a full scale solo exhibition of her work – her works are mainly sculptural in form and really impactful. She entwines the spiritual, the feminine and unleashes the remarkable power of meaning by using often very simple objects like the Indian Bhindi, for example, to make large scale powerful installations. We are very excited for audiences to see it when reopens on 21 July.
How can our Guests book the exhibition?
As IMMA’s Official Hospitality Partner all guests at The Dean and The Devlin can book their free exhibition tickets online here or speak with the hotel front desk before or during their stay. Guests can also access exclusive IMMA Members events bringing them closer to artists and curators.
IMMA Opening & Safety Policies
We want to keep our visitors and staff safe and well while we re-open and while ensuring our visitors have a good experience with us. Our exhibitions are free but entry is time-slotted to ensure visitors can practice social distancing. We have a one-way system in place in the galleries and hand-sanitizing stations throughout. We have a new outdoor space, The People’s Pavilion, where we are programming outdoor activities including art workshops, yoga and lots more throughout the summer. The People’s Pavilion is complimented by a new outdoor pop-up café The Flying Dog.
Planning a visit to Dublin?
Love art? We love our City. Its vibe, its friendliness, its art and its culture, there is just nowhere else like it.
Now, whilst trips to far flung destinations might be off the cards, it’s time to rediscover this city of ours, to love local, and enjoy for ourselves all the things that make us proud to call this city our home.
The Dean in Dublin City, The Mayson in the heart of Dublin Docklands, The Devlin in Ranelagh and The Clarence in Temple Bar have curated an incredible ‘Dublin Can Be Heaven‘ staycation package that gives you that little bit back to allow you to fall back in love with Dublin City.