Turner Prize venue ‘on time, on schedule’

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Plans to bring the Turner Prize to Derry in 2013 are progressing well, both Ilex and the Culture Company said yesterday.

The assurance comes just days after news that the WOMAD Festival may not take place here during the City of Culture celebrations.

Earlier this week it emerged that the Clock Tower building at Ebrington - the venue initially proposed to house the prestigious Turner Prize - was not suitable. However, Ilex are confident that another building within the Ebrington site will provide the perfect location for the world-famous contemporary art award.

Mo Durkan, Ilex Director of Communications, told the ‘Journal’ yesterday that another spacious building at Ebrington will be developed for the Turner Prize.

“As we understand, Tate, who are behind the Turner Prize, are coming to the city in coming months and will talking to the Culture Company and looking at the venues we have on offer, but it is their choice and they have to be happy with the venue we propose.”

The latest location within Ebrington - which could be redeveloped to host the Turner Prize at a cost of £2.5 million - is a former accomodation block called Building 80-81. “Building 80-81, a late Victorian red-brick building behind the Clock Tower in Ebrington, is the venue being scoped at the moment,” said Ms Durkan.

“We have no reason to believe that it won’t be ready in time as the Turner Prize will be in Autumn 2013, which is still eighteen months away. As far as we are concerned, we are pushing forward with plans for Building 80-81.”

A Culture Company spokesperson also said they had received a public commitment regarding the venue.

“Our infrastructure partners, Ilex, have always assured us - as recently as our last Board meeting on Monday - that the venue for Turner Prize 2013 will be delivered on time and on schedule,” they said yesterday.

The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual contemporary art prize presented to a visual artist under the age of 50. Established in 1984, this critically-acclaimed event celebrates new developments in contemporary art.