DERRY City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council, are inviting artists to submit proposals to design and install artworks at three locations within the Sperrins.
The artworks, which will be located at the preselected locations of Cranagh, Ranaghan and Mullaghcarn will form an iconic sculpture trail and flagship visitor offering for the region while celebrating the unique cultural heritage of the Sperrins.
It is envisaged that the project will have a budget of up to £2million with funding assistance being sought from the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and specifically the Rural Tourism Scheme.
The aim of this scheme is to support investment in natural and built heritage projects that can act as a key driver for encouraging rural tourism and particularly out of state visitors.
It is envisaged that the Sperrins Sculpture Trail project will be delivered by an artist led team in close consultation with key stakeholders of the Sperrins so as to capture the essence of the region, its culture and heritage.
The successful candidate will be selected through a competitive two stage procurement process.
Stage One of the process is a Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire with a deadline of Friday September 6th 2019 and is an opportunity for the artist led team to provide evidence of previous work experience that demonstrates their expertise in delivering projects of this nature.
Following assessment of the questionnaires, up to six artists will be invited to submit a detailed tender proposal at stage 2 of the competition which will determine the preferred artist.
Speaking about the project, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, encouraged artists to get involved in the open competition.
“The Sperrins Sculpture Trail project will provide a focus for and link the many stunning walking, driving and cycling routes that currently exist and showcase the Sperrins – the largest mountain range in the North,” she said.
“It will be an iconic and unique flagship tourism project which will create capital infrastructure, enable increased visitor numbers to the area, encourage investment within our tourism sector and ultimately deliver new jobs while sustaining others.“This is an exciting opportunity for an artist led team to be involved in, with the competition winner having access to a significant budget to create permanent art pieces of significance that celebrate the rich and distinct history of this area of outstanding natural beauty.”
Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, added:
“The Sperrins Sculpture Trail project represents a means to drive the development of our natural and cultural assets within the region and make them accessible to visitors.”
“It is anticipated that the artwork installation will be iconic in nature and be produced by an artist of international renown.
“Visitors will use stunning walking trails as well as dramatic driving and cycling routes to move between the artwork sites in a way that enables them to immerse themselves in and enjoy the cultural heritage of the Sperrins.”
The Sperrins region itself comprises an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is located in the heart of the ancient province of Ulster and spans two counties – Tyrone and Derry.
It is the North of Ireland’s largest mountain range – covering an area of some 40 miles, and stretches from the Donegal border in the west, to Lough Neagh in the east and the Atlantic shores in the north.
The natural asset of the mountain range mixed with the unspoilt landscape of 10 summits above 500m winding rivers, sun swept valleys, natural forests and scenic lakes all translate into a region recognised as one of the most idyllic geographical areas of rural Ireland.
Millions of years in the making, the story of the Sperrins is distinct, carefully crafted and rich in character.