Established in 2005, 126 Artist-Run Gallery is an artist-led, not for profit organisation integral to the visual arts ecology and cultural landscape of Galway. Run voluntarily by a Board of Directors, professional artists & curators for 17 years supported by Galway City Council, The Arts Council of Ireland, and Creative Ireland.

126’s mission is to deliver high-quality professional contemporary exhibitions and cultural programming which is free and open to all. This includes artist talks/lectures, workshops, residencies, studio spaces and upskilling opportunities for Galway.

126 is dedicated to supporting artists at all stages of career with a focus on emerging contemporary practices & partnerships. This is achieved by maintaining a centrally located space which is welcoming and open for all to visit and join. 126 is committed to the development of paid opportunities for artists, the fostering of partnerships locally and nationally and to advancing Galway’s cultural capacity.

126 was founded on a democratic structure, in which power flows from the membership to the Board of Directors. The Board promotes the ideology of the membership, as laid out in the organisation’s aims, through the activities of 126. The Board directly represents the membership, and it is on the basis of this relationship that the projected success and longevity of 126 is based. Membership provides a platform for individuals to connect with a larger network of professional artists. There are around 200 members at any given time.

126 also runs Barton studios, a satellite studio space on Saint Francis Street in Galway City.  By establishing Barton Studios 126 provides Galway artists a much needed space to work, that is affordable, secure, and easy to access right in the heart of the city.

Our Activities

126 has five areas with which to best fulfil the aims listed above. We provide an exhibition space for risk-taking contemporary art by maintaining our central location and holding a programme filled with engaging new works; we research artist-led organisations and the issues contemporary artists face today; we run a residency programme in co-operation with our partners to foster emerging talent – and we produce publications to continue the exciting debates and conversations sparked by all our other activities. In recent years, 126 has moved to its largest space yet and are able to host studio spaces.

Each year 126 runs a full 12-month exhibition programme. This is a combination of show series’ tackling a single curatorial arc (as in the Primary Resource Project of 2015) or solo and group shows that foster emerging talents. We are a visual art venue for both GIAF (Galway International Art Festival) and TULCA festival of visual art. Each year we exhibit work by our members as a group show, either in our gallery space, or as an off-site project. The Members’ show is advertised by Open Call in the first quarter of the year. The Board of Directors programmes the gallery  about a year in advance and member artists/curators are encouraged to submit proposals for solo shows to our email: contactg126@gmail.com.

In order to foster emerging talent 126 has developed a series of residencies with the cooperation of its valuable partners: The Burren College of Art and Atlantic Technological University. Our residency opportunities are advertised by Open Call and are advertised throughout the year. We also host (when possible) our own residency opportunities with the creation of a new residency space. We also offer temporary studio space rental.

126 currently has 5 studios including 2 shared spaces, two single occupancy studios and a residency/temporary rental studio at 126 gallery and 4 separate studios in our Barton building on St Francis street. 126 is committed to providing affordable quality studio spaces and secure 24 hr facilities. Currently housed above the main gallery.

Contributions to the Galways arts

126 continues to contribute to the visual arts in the greater Galway area by committing to the following:

  • Artists and anyone who works for us is always paid, now and forever.
  • Maintain a central permanent exhibition space and resource centre for all visual artists.
  • Provide a unique platform within Galway for the presentation of artworks that are risk-taking, experimental and contemporary.
  • Present diverse programming, ranging from established to emerging artists, from international to local practitioners and from conventional to new media.
  • Encourage growth in the visual arts in Galway and in critical discourse in Ireland.
  • Develop an information and support network through our membership.
  • Offer support for art college students and recent graduates by promoting unique exhibition opportunities and feedback on their work.