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OPW State Art Collection

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The OPW is responsible for the management of the State Art Collection which comprises of c.16,000 works. These works include both historical and contemporary paintings, original prints, sculpture, fine-art and decorative objects, music, and poetry.

The Collection is on permanent display in public buildings and heritage properties and these locations include many government offices, parks, Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin Castle, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Farmleigh, Leinster House, Government Buildings, Garda stations, the Four Courts and certain other court facilities.

It is the largest dispersed collection in the State and a public-facing collection with over 90% of art works on display. It fulfills its role by showcasing the creativity of artists living and working in Ireland to the many members of the public who visit and work in State properties. It also facilitates access through exhibitions and lending works to external borrowers (museums, galleries and artists), to reach wider audiences.1

History

Established in 1831, the Office of Public Works (OPW) predates the foundation of the Irish State and is a Government office that manages the largest and most diverse property portfolio across Ireland, ranging from heritage sites to contemporary office spaces.It provides accommodation for Government Departments, over 700 Garda properties and
approximately 550 offices in both historic and modern buildings. It delivers new construction, refurbishment, fit-out, conservation and maintenance projects on behalf of the State. TheOPW is also the lead agency for coordinating a whole-of-government response to flood risk management in Ireland. It is responsible for coordinating comprehensive policies and strategies to minimise the impacts of flooding through sustainable planning

The OPWState Art Collection is a working art collection and includes artworks purchased, commissioned, inherited by or donated to the State that are managed by the OPWArt Management Office. At present, the collection numbers over13,500works of art.The majority of works of art in the collection are by contemporary Irish artists, but not exclusively. The collection includes paintings, drawings, original prints, watercolours, sculpture, textiles, photographs as well as multi-media works and art projects commissioned under the Per Cent for Art Scheme.Although the artworks in the collection are widely dispersed and mobile, some works have a strong connection with the building in which they are displayed. For example, the collection includes bronze busts and portraits of Presidents, Taoisigh and Cinn Comhairle commissioned by the OPW for display in Áras an Uachtaráin, Government Buildings and Leinster House respectively. In other cases, artworks were commissioned for a particular space and form an integral part of the building or its surroundings.2 https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/129246/cb834d5f-c496-40b2-88c5-1e0a4922cebd.pdf#page=null 3

  1. “Title of page” Name of the Website https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/31ca36-heritage-services-state-art-collection/