Into the Light, a major series of exhibitions celebrating the inspiring work of Irish artists and over 60 years of support for the sector by the Arts Council, has officially come to an end after more than 80,000 people viewed the works in galleries nationwide.
The Into the Light exhibitions, which were a partnership between the Arts Council and four regional venues, were running since the end of November last year. The success of the exhibitions is being seen as a major boost for the visual arts in Ireland.
Into the Light was designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Arts Council and drew upon works contained in the Arts Council Collection.
The Collection itself has been built up over the lifetime of the agency through support for artists and contains early works by many famous names who have received support from the State throughout the years including Louis le Brocquy, Patrick Scott and Alice Maher.
The locations and attendances for Into the Light were as follows:
. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork - 37,483
. Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane - 31,217
. Limerick City Gallery of Art - 7,767
. The Model, Sligo - 4,293
Ms Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, said:
"I am delighted with the success of the Into the Light exhibitions. Over 80,000 people from all over the country attended the exhibitions in the four locations, which is almost the full capacity of Croke Park on All-Ireland Final day. This is a great signal for the future of the visual arts in Ireland."
"Over the past 60 years, the goal of the Arts Council has been to develop and promote the arts in Ireland while building a central place for the arts in Irish life. This initiative was based on these principles."
"The Into the Light exhibitions have provided a fantastic opportunity for the public to see and experience some of the great Irish artists that the Arts Council has supported over the past 60 years. This collection is a manifestation of the support given to artists over the past 60 years and we are very happy that the public have viewed these magnificent works in such numbers."
"The arts really matter to us in Ireland, they unite our communities in good times and in bad, and they help define us as a people. It is essential that the Arts Council engages with communities across the country to share the creative potential of our nation and Into the Light has been successful in achieving this."
In addition to the exhibitions, a 370 page publication was commissioned which catalogues the evolution of the visual arts in Ireland over the past 60 years. The publication, also named Into the Light, features over one hundred colour illustrations of works from the Arts Council Collection and is available from any of the partner galleries and Hodges and Figgis bookshop on Dawson Street in Dublin