In the last ten years a diverse and internationally significant visual arts scene has emerged in Ireland. It is in this development that 126 plays an important role as the only permanent space in Galway that allows artists to experiment and take risks with their practice. 126 is Galway's and the west of Ireland’s first artist-led exhibition space. 126 was established in 2006 by local artists in their own living room as a response to the urgent need for more non-commercial gallery spaces in Galway. We then shifted locations to a white-cube space and invited local artists to form a Board based on the successful democratic style of Catalyst (Belfast) and Transmission (Glasgow). In 2009, 126 relocated to Queen Street in the city centre. In April 2013 we moved to a larger, more prominent space in No.4 Commerce House, Flood Street near Druid Lane.
126 has developed a reputation as an organisation which supports traditionally unrepresented artistic projects. We have consistently programmed work that other organisations and commercial galleries within Galway and western Ireland’s cultural infrastructure may find difficult. Because we are a not-for-profit, publicly funded gallery space, we are able to make decisions on an artistic, rather than economic, basis. As such, 126 is gaining recognition and support as a place of cultural innovation in Ireland and is quickly becoming an integral part of Galway’s cultural fabric.
126 will continue its contribution to the visual arts in the greater Galway area by aiming to:
1. Maintain a central permanent exhibition space and resource center for all visual artists.
2. Provide a unique platform within Galway for the presentation of art works that are risk-taking, experimental, in-progress, and otherwise not normally represented by commercial galleries or established institutions.
3. Present diverse programming, ranging from established to emerging artists, from international to local practitioners and from conventional to new medias.
4. Initiate projects outside of the gallery using the office as a contact point for organisation and administration.
5. Encourage a growth in the visual arts in Galway and in critical discourse in Ireland.
6. Develop an information and support network through our membership.
7. Offer support for art college students and recent graduates by promoting unique exhibition opportunities and feedback on their work.
8. Distinguish itself from other Galway-based visual art bodies as an artist-run and democratic organisation, thus making decisions on an artistic not economic basis.
9. Emerge as national leaders at the forefront of contemporary art by ambitiously pursuing excellence in all areas of our programme.
10. Promote international exchanges of ideas and artists.
Some of 126’s partners in past projects have included: The Royal Hibernian Academy, The Event Gallery, Catalyst Arts, Pallas Contemporary Projects, Monster Truck Gallery and Studios, the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Blankspace (USA), The Irish Artist Led Archive, The Open Eye Club, The Defastenists, Travel Agents, Moxie, Project 304 (Thailand), The Galway Arts Centre, Limerick City Gallery, Tulca, The Galway Arts Festival, Artisit?, The Galway Film Fleadh, The Burren College of Art, GMIT, Bar No. 8, The Rubicon Gallery, Green on Red, Jack Shainman Gallery (USA) and more.
In the two years we have been proud to host the work of: Blaise Drummond, Niamh McCann, Beth O’Halloran, Ben Geoghegan, Fiona Murray, Sarah Durcan, Martin Healy, Iain Hetherington, Amy O’Riordan, Martina Cleary, Mark O’Kelly, Nevan Lehart, Ruth McHugh, Mark Joyce, Phillipa Sutherland, Ann Mulrooney, Michael Minnis, Desmond Shortt, Breda Lynch, Tom Molloy, Benjamin and Miriam de Burca, Jim Ricks, Cliona Harmey, Michael Fortune, Aoife Merrigan, Vivienne Dick, Alice Maher, Christoph Kronke, Brendan Flaherty, John Brady, Felicity Clear, Fred Pedersen, Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardottir, Ronnie Heeps, Ciara Phillips, David Shrigley, Dave Sherry, Meaghan Schwelm, Marie Connole, Loren Erdrich, Paul Timoney, Keith Nevin, Royal Art Lodge, Sean Hillen, Ger Sweeney, Anne Ffrench, Aileen Lambert, Clare Shannahan, Brian Sherry, Eileen Healy, A.J. Doyle, Myra Epstein, Rebecca Massey, David Stalling, Anthony Kelly, Joanna Hopkins, Kelly O’ Connor, Isaac Senchermes, Suzanne M. Leahy, Vera Klute, Brian Mooney, Edward Cunniffe, Philippa Sutherland, AnnMarie Barry, Stephen Gunning, Pat Corcoran, Aissa Lopez, Sarah O’ Brien, Dominic Thorpe, Ethna O’Regan, Fiona Larkin, Brian Hart, Paul O’Neill, Keith Winter, Clive Murphy, Allan Hughes, Paul Coffey, Ian Wieczorek, Tom O’Dea, Austin Ivers, Timothy Emlyn Jones, Suzannah Vaughan, Áine Phillips, Brian Duggan, Alika Cooper, Laura Plageman, Rob Sato, Hank Willis Thomas, Project 304, Rainer Ganahl, Niall de Buitléar, Mark Cullen, Cian McConn, Cian Donnelly, Jane O' Sullivan, Martin Carter, Neal Johnson, Zoë Murdoch, Aileen Lambert, Fionnuala Doran, Jaromir Svozilik, Caragh O'Donnell, Piia Rossi, Peter Richards, Ben Craig, Sinéad Bhreatthnach-Cashell, Lucas Dillon, Hannah Casey, Miguel Martin, Hannah Casey, Sisley, Sinead Ferry, Paddy Gould, Cathrine Devlin, James Hepburn, Andy Brown, Mic Fortune, Amy Russell, Sally Houston, Stephanie Syjuco, Fergus Byrne, Frank Koolen, Kelly Richardson, Christopher Banahan, Gina Tuzzi, Samara Halperin, Brian Caraway, Lena Reynoso, Crystal Morey, Sam Lopes, Renée Gertler, Peter O'Kennedy, Alan Bulfin, Mary Trait, Grainne McHale, Niamh O'Beirne, Grainne Kelly, Emma Grice, Sarah Dunne, Ken Fandell, Ivan Twohig, Samuel Seger, Patrick Wagner, Eimear Twomey, David Finn, Padraig Robinson, Kevin Mooney, Austin Ivers, Nina Amazing, Timothy Acheson & Jennifer Cunningham, Kathryn Maguire, Breda Lynch, James Merrigan, Ben Sloat, Christine Clemmesen, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Aideen Barry, Roisin Coyle, Cecelia Dannell, John Sasaki, June Lally, Colm Lally, William Elms, Damien O'Connell, Emmett Kierans, Fionnuala & Aideen Doran, Kevin Gaffney, Laura McMorrow, Linda Monks, Lorraine Walsh, Sercan Sahin, Thomas Carville, Steve Maher, Fiona Hession,Tadhg McCullagh, Anne O’Byrne, Aidan Kelleher and Brendan Hoare, Niamh Heery, Jennifer Brady, Alan Butler, and many more
The current board of 126 is:
Anne marie McKee (Chairperson)
Katriona Gillespie (Treasurer)
Bernadette O'Donnell (Secretary)