Since 1962, the Arts Council has been buying art from working artists. The Collection that evolved tells the story of modern and contemporary Irish visual art in a unique and fascinating way. Today the Collection continues to grow and it is comprised
of more than 1,200 artworks including sculpture, painting, performance, print, video, installation, photography and other works many of which are on display in public spaces all over Ireland for people to experience and enjoy first hand.
The artworks being added to the Collection each year are by artists who live and work in communities both across Ireland and internationally, continuing a proud history of the Arts Council purchasing excellent and ambitious art, and it reflects the immense
quality of visual arts practice today.
The Council’s mission statement for its Collection:
‘The Arts Council’s collection supports artists’ and public engagement with the arts. It does this by purchasing excellent contemporary work to be enjoyed and valued through display and programmes delivered directly and with partners. Through the collection, the Arts Council also acts as a custodian and carer of great art on behalf of the people of Ireland’.
Explore the Collection
You can view all the
artworks and artists in Arts Council Collection by exploring our online
To discover more about the works and read
artists’ responses to having their work in the Collection please visit our
feature series Showcasing the Collection.
New Acquisitions for the Arts Council Collection are announced on the Arts Council’s Instagram page.
Acquisitions for the Collection
Acquisitions for the Collection are guided by a formal policy adopted by the Arts Council in 2018: http://www.artscouncil.ie/Publications/Visual-arts/Arts-Council-Collection-Policy-2018-22/
The criteria for works being added to Collection are:
Work must be excellent (of high quality and ambition)
Work must be recent
Works must demonstrate an important stage in an artist’s career
Works will be by artists who have not been purchased by the Arts Council, with the exception where work demonstrates a significant shift in an artist’s practice
Unsolicited approaches for works to be acquired or for gifts to be made to the Arts Council Collection are not accepted.
Acquisitions for the Collection are also guided by Arts Council policy on Equality, Human Rights and Diversity, as well as Paying the Artist and Making Great Art Work .
The Collection team undertake on-going research to keep abreast of the practice of visual artists across Ireland and internationally for future potential acquisition to the Collection.
While it is not possible to undertake studio visits to individual artists we do encourage artists to keep the Collection team informed about exhibitions and projects, via email.
Collection Acquisitions Committee
All purchases for the Collection are overseen by the Collection Acquisitions Committee comprising members of the Arts Council, the executive, artists already represented in the Collection and independent experts. Members are drawn from a diverse background to ensure that due consideration is given to a wide range of artists and practices.
This committee meets several times each year to analyse, discuss and decide which works should be acquired, in line with the criteria under the Policy section above.
How to loan works from the Arts Council Collection
The Arts Council Collection is a lending collection and works can be seen on long term loan in schools, hospitals, public sector buildings as well as part of exhibitions in galleries, museums and other arts organisations throughout Ireland, and internationally.
The Arts Council Collection welcomes requests for loans and the process of loaning works for display from the Collection is relatively straightforward and usually takes approximately 3 months from initial enquiry to works being installed.
If you are interested in requesting a loan of works from the Arts Council Collection, the first thing is for borrowers to make contact with the Collection team to let us know that you are interesting in borrowing works.
As a developmental tool for supporting artists and increasing public engagement with the arts, the Arts Council Collection team is available assist borrowers in their plans including sharing advice on establishing Art Committees and processes for selecting work.
In terms of the process, we would follow up with a site visit to look at the spaces where the work would be presented. When we know the work(s) you are requesting to borrow we can confirm if they will be available to loan, if there are artists’ specifications that need to be adhered to and any other related matters. Further down the line we will issue a formal loan agreement which confirms the work(s), valuation and the terms of reference for loan.
There is no fee charged to borrow artworks from the Arts Council Collection. The organisation borrowing the work is required to cover the cost of insuring the artwork for the duration of the loan and to cover any transport and installation costs in relation to presenting the work and the return of work to the Arts Council Collection. All works must be transported by an Art handler.
In order to ensure that the
widest audiences can experience and engage with the Arts Council Collection,
artworks on loan must be displayed in buildings that are easily accessible to
the public. The Arts Council will only lend artworks for exhibitions in Ireland
that are free to enter. In exceptional cases e.g. international
exhibitions where ticketing will be in place, loans may only be considered
where the artist/s are fairly remunerated in line with the principles of the Paying
the Artist policy.
Further details on loaning from the Arts Council Collection can be found in the Collection Policy
Contact Collection Officer, Grace O'Boyle at Grace.OBoyle@artscouncil.ie