Recently I met with Maria Corbett, director of the Powerscourt Gallery.

Gallery director Maria Corbett with her portrait by Kieran Crowley

Gallery director Maria Corbett with her portrait by Kieran Crowley

Maria took over the gallery in 2009 and works alongside with Philippa Kelly and Aisling Bodkin.  She has definitely noticed many changes since then.  2011 is a lot tougher than previous years. There are a lot less impulse buys.  People are buying because of their love of art.  A painting on the wall is something you can enjoy every day.

Recently they have introduced a number of innovative features to the gallery.  At Culture Night they had an open life drawing session. Any one could come along and try sketching the live model.   This now continues fortnightly on a Thursday for a reasonable fee of 8 euro.

Another idea is an art & craft market on the last Saturday of the month.  The gallery floor is cleared and artisans can have a table for 40 euro for the day.  They also have had a county themed event: “Love Donegal” where art, crafts and music from that county were featured.

Powerscourt Gallery Interior

Powerscourt Gallery Interior

All the work in the gallery is original art or original prints.  Maria feels strongly that that the distinction between reproductions and original prints should be made clear.  One has a much better chance of holding or increasing its value.

Maria is keen to look after the artists that display in the gallery.  They get exposure for six days a week and the gallery’s innovations expose their art to more potential buyers. She feels that prompt payment of the 50% commission to the artist when a painting sells is essential.

Maria curated the Bank of Ireland Art Collection for four years. At one stage she had a choice to make: bank shares or money to put into art. What would you have done?

Maria Corbett with Philippa Kelly

Maria Corbett with Philippa Kelly

It’s great to see new ideas in an industry which could be seen as conservative.  What will they do next?

For more information see the Powerscourt Gallery website – www.powerscourtgallery.com

 

Liam Madden
Irish Art News