President Michael D. Higgins was the guest of honour at the Aosdána General Assembly today at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham where 11 new members were elected. This brings the total membership to 250. Those elected were composer Elaine Agnew, visual artist John Byrne, architect Tom de Paor, composer Ciarán Farrell, visual artist Marie Hanlon, writer James Harpur, writer Mary Morrissy, writer Michael O'Loughlin, visual artist Geraldine O'Neill, visual artist Joe Walker, writer Enda Wyley.
At the meeting, members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members - visual artist Patrick O’Sullivan, writers Francis Harvey, Dermot Healy, Aodhán Madden, Desmond O’Grady and Michael Smith, and filmmaker Louis Lentin, all of whom have died since the last General Assembly. A minute's silence was observed in their memory.
Aosdána was established in 1981 by the Arts Council in order to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland. Membership of Aosdána, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to 250 living artists, who have produced a distinguished body of work. The membership includes creative artists working in a wide range of disciplines including architecture, choreography, music, literature and the visual arts. Members of the body must have been born in Ireland or have been resident here for five years. Aosdána members are eligible to receive a ‘cnuas’ from the Arts Council - an annuity for a term of five years - to assist them in concentrating their time and energies in the full-time pursuit of their art.
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