Sending Letters to the Sea

Artist Name(s) Mark Garry
Artwork title Sending Letters to the Sea
Context/Background Sending letters to the Sea is a collaborative music project initiated by visual artist and musician Mark Garry. This unique project was realized as part of Fingal County Council's series of public art commissions, funded through the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government's Per Cent for Art Scheme.


A collaborative music project informed by the historical connections between music and faith.

In 2007 a number of artists were selected to be part of Fingal County Council's Public Art Panel. The selected artists were invited to respond to a brief which reflected, either physically or theoretically, aspects of Fingal's society, culture, heritage, and geography with the aim of expanding the notion of public art and role of the local authority as a commissioner of new practices.

When selected to be part of this panel Mark tried to find a mechanism that would both engage in a local context but have the scope to reach a diverse and far reaching audience. Mark is very interested in Ireland's culturally Christian status and the broader cultural impact of Christianity. The artist engaged in a period of research, looking at the connections between music and religious celebration from both technical and philosophical perspectives and how religion and religious instances throughout history influenced and shaped the many forms of music we hear today. The process evolved to become a collaborative musical project that incorporated elements of Mark's research in its development in a variety of subtle and more overt ways. Mark brought together a range of musicians working in broad range of classical and contemporary musical techniques. The outcome from this collaboration was a Vinyl and CD release that was developed over a two year period and recorded in Studio East in Berlin and St. Columba's Church.

For this project Mark brought together a remarkably talented group of diverse musical talents. Electro/acoustic musician and composer Karl Burke (AKA Karl Him), the multi-talented Irish female musician Nina Hynes, remarkable young jazz percussionist Sean Carpio, electronic musician Eileen Carpio, French classically trained pianist Fabien Leseure and Paris based Jazz Violin player Benoit Leseure. These group enlisted the talents of Geaspar Warfield on Cello and John Egan on Violin and Viola and The Fingal chamber choir. This recording was performed live on the evening of 19 November 2010 in St. Columba's Church, Swords.

Mark is bringing many of the participants from this project to a The Mattress Factory Art Museum in Pittsburgh PA to collaborate with a number of Pittsburgh based musicians for a month in late June 2010. This group will make a new recording at the museum and will undertake a series of performances. This project is entitled A Generous Act


Sending Letters to the Sea MySpace:

Sending Letters to the Sea CD and vinyl available for purchase here:

Reviews of the album:

Live studio session and interview on Donal Dineen's Small Hours radio show

Video footage of studio session on the Small Hours show


Mark has had a number of notable international opportunities as an artist and was one of the artists who represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Selected recent exhibitions include: Solo Exhibition, Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough UK (2009); Frequency: The Hugh lane Gallery Dublin (2009); Flower Power, Tai Turin Art International, CRAA Centro Ricerca Arte Attuale, Torino,Italy (2009); Inner and Outer Space, The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh Pensilvania USA (2008); Green Screen: The Institute of Contemporary art Newtown, Sydney Australia.(2008); Gallery 2 The Paradise, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, (2006); The foundation to life, New York, USA (curated by Cathy Siegel.) (2006); Glass Box, Paris (2006); Ireland at Venice, Venice Biennial, Scuola di San Pasquale, Venice (Representing the Republic of Ireland) (2005), which travelled to Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2006).

Mark has an avid interest in sound and music and has written about this field a number of times. Mark has released music by independent musicians and composers as part his curated projects. These include Chequerboard, Sanso-extro, the Warlords of Pez and Stephen Rennicks. Mark is a member of a band called A=apple with Nina Hynes and Karl Burke and this band have performed in a number of conventional music venues but perform primarily at art institutions. They have performed at The Project Arts Centre, The RHA and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. This band released a debut 10" vinyl album in 2006 as part of the exhibition Plane curated by Mark at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Caroline Cowley, Public Art Manager, Fingal Co CO Arts Office
Commissioning process Part of a programmatic approach
Public Presentation dates November 19, 2009 - January 1, 1970
Artform Music,Visual Arts
Funded By Fingal County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Location St Columba's Church, Swords
County Dublin
Town Swords
Content contributor(s) Mark Garry
Relationship to project Artist
Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Musicians: Karl Burke (AKA Karl Him)Rhona Btrne, Nina Hynes, Sean Carpio, Eileen Carpio, Fabien Leseure and Benoit Leseure, Geaspar Warfield on Cello and John Egan The Fingal chamber choir.

Scores for choir and strings: Fabien Leseure 
Recording, production and mixing: Fabien Leseure



no news in this list.

more opportunities

Focus On



Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

more about this article