Project was founded in 1966 by four visual artists- John Behan, Michael Kane, John Kelly, Charlie Cullen - and a theatre practitioner/administrator, Colm O’Briain. Its aim was to provide an alternative venue for performing and visual artists.
In its early years, Project occupied a diverse range of premises. From its beginning as a three week festival at the Gate Theatre, Project moved to a two roomed gallery on the second floor of an engineering premises in Lower Abbey Street, then to the basement of the YMCA on the same street, on to a disused factory in South King Street and finally settling in the former Dollard Printing Works in East Essex Street in 1974. Project eventually purchased this site and remained there until 1996.
In 1991 the board of Project instigated a programme of redevelopment to improve the venue and facilities. This culminated in an integrated development with Temple Bar Properties. In 1998 Project and Temple Bar Properties (TBP) signed a lease agreement with the consent of The Arts Council. This enabled TBP to access funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Department of the Environment to construct a custom-designed building for Project by The Arts Council and Dublin Corporation.
During its redevelopment, from 1997 - 1999, Project relocated its performance space to project @ the mint. This temporary venue was located above a snooker club and fortune teller in Henry Place, Dublin 1. The visual arts programme at Project continued off site with a number of artists working in found spaces round the city and in Galway.
The new building was designed by Shay Cleary Architects and was opened 12th June 2000.
By any reckoning Project has had an eventful history and evolution, which has mirrored the political and cultural trends of its time. It has developed from its earlier formative years as a voluntary, artist-led co-operative, to the current structure of a full-time professional administration operating an artist-driven company. Project now stands as a modern contemporary arts centre, with a national and international reputation.
Former use : new building built in 2000
Architect of the reconversion : Shay Cleary Architects
Total surface of the site : n/a
Location : city centre
Foundation year of the centre : 1966
Type of occupation: 35 year lease
Owner of the building: Temple Bar Properties Ltd.
Infrastructures / Facilities
Space Upstairs: 0-250 seats, dimensions 18.65m X 14.6m X 6.325m
Cube: 0-90 seats, dimensions 11.8m x 8.8m x 4.5m
Gallery: 14m x 10m x 6m, no natural light
Box-office, theatre bar, administrative offices.
Social and artistic disciplines
All contemporary art forms including theatre, dance, visual arts, music (jazz, electronic, new music).
Financial support 2003
The Arts Council €610,000
Dublin City Council €25,000
Other income from rental of the spaces to production companies or from shared income for events.
Retained profits from bar sales.