Take Our Art Out Of The Dark Says Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 26 February 2010

Reference: CAL 06/09/10

‘Take our art out of the dark’ is the message from the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure. The Committee is asking that as many paintings and works of art that are currently under the control of government be displayed for the general public to view.

The Committee has obtained a list of all the art works owned by local government authorities, the Arts Council and National Museums NI. The Committee was shocked to discover that many of these art works are currently held in storage with no plans to put them on public display.

Chair of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Barry McElduff says: “We think those works of art which are currently collecting dust in storage should be displayed for all to view. We are calling on all relevant public bodies to take our art out of the dark and put it on show for the public.

“This art work has been paid for out of the public purse and the Committee believes everyone should be afforded the opportunity to view and appreciate this art.”

The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure is concerned that keeping art in storage is a waste of public money, particularly when budgets are already under pressure. Chairperson Barry McElduff says:

“The Arts Council is currently acquiring new art work, but where will they put it and how will it be used? We have to ask why public bodies collect art if they don’t have the capacity to display it? Perhaps, in the current tough economic climate, some of the unused art could even be sold off to those who would use it for the public good, and the money invested in community arts.”

The Committee is also concerned that with the forthcoming Review of Public Administration and the merging of Councils, art inventories will not be lost or misplaced. The Committee is therefore encouraging all local councils to publish lists of their arts work and has written to the Committee for the Environment to look at this issue.

ENDS

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