06 October 2012: Arts Council announces details of ‘Into the Light’

Meditation (2009) by Patrick Scott, one of Ireland’s greatest living artists, is the title image for a major series of exhibitions which will take place from December this year to celebrate the work of Irish contemporary artists and 60 years of support for the sector by the Arts Council.

Into the Light: the Arts Council - 60 Years of Supporting the Arts has been developed by lead curator, Karen Downey and is a partnership between the Arts Council and a number of prominent Irish art galleries. Partner curators have been invited to select works from the Arts Council collection and to create exhibitions which reflect the interests and ethos of their individual institutions.

The exhibitions will include over 150 works from the Arts Council collection. Many of the works have been recalled from loan locations across the country and will be on display at the following locations:

  • Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane from 28 November
  • Limerick City Gallery of Art from 30 November 
  • Crawford Art Gallery from 5 December
  • The Model, Sligo from 7 December

Speaking today, Ms Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, said: "the Arts Council has been supporting artists and the development of the arts in Ireland for 60 years. The first meeting of the Arts Council took place in January 1952, just a few years after Ireland declared itself a Republic. Considering this in the context of cultural and artistic developments in Ireland since that time, the Arts Council is proud and privileged to have played a small but significant part in that dynamic and ambitious journey towards a modern Ireland."

"When Council considered how it might mark its 60th anniversary, it was agreed that core, long-term ambitions should be reflected. Primary amongst these have been the support of artists in the production of their work and opportunities for the public to see and experience art. Consequently, a major event showcasing the Arts Council's collection seemed appropriate."

 Ms Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council said:  "We are very excited about this initiative which is the first-of its-kind in the history of the Arts Council and has involved a significant recall of works currently out on loan to public institutions. This collection is one manifestation of the support given to artists by the Arts Council over the past 60 years and each partner gallery will be displaying a different set of magnificent works. The Council believes it is a fitting way to mark its 60 years."

"Arts and culture are essential to rebuilding our national self-confidence and restoring our reputation abroad. By bringing the work of great Irish artists to the Irish people, we can help Ireland realise its creative potential and foster artistic inclusion in communities across the country. Our intention is to bring the work of Ireland's visual artists ‘into the light’ as President Higgins urged recently on the RTE Masterpiece show."

"The collection, which was formally established in 1962, is not a 'museum-like' or definitive collection representing an Irish art canon. Instead, its development was guided by the deeply held principles of assisting artists to make a living from their work and of using that work to provide opportunities for the public to experience art in their locality. These values still endure, with the Council buying from contemporary artists while also ensuring that the majority of the collection remains out on loan in local libraries, museums, hospitals and other public buildings."

"Into the Light pays tribute to a distinctive national collection that has been active for 50 years tracking contemporary visual arts developments as they emerged."

"The Arts Council hopes that people throughout the country will visit at least one of the four partner venues hosting the exhibitions, or maybe those who are really inspired (or curious) will visit all four! Our intention is to bring the work of Ireland's visual artists into the light, as these exhibitions showcase many of the cultural and artistic riches that our country has produced over the lifespan of the Arts Council."

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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