5 July 2023

 Art Collection Policy of Clare County Council

June 2021

Objectives & Purpose of Document.

This document outlines a strategy for the purchase and donations policy for the Clare Art’s Office. The aim of this document is to set out the framework that guides, establishes and defines a clear policy document for the acquisition and expansion of the art collection for the County.

Current Situation-History. Background and Context

In May 1983 Clare County Council purchased eight prints through the Arts Council’s Joint Purchase Scheme and the county art collection was established. Since then the Council has added to these works through donations, purchases, commissions and artist schemes to develop an intriguing and eclectic collection which is dispersed throughout libraries and council properties in Clare. The works on show in Áras an Chontae and in Council buildings countywide reflect the diversity of these works and feature some of Ireland’s most recognised artists as well as contemporary local artists. They reflect the proud cultural traditions and artistic talent of the county and we hope will be enjoyed by staff and visitors to the buildings within the remit of Clare County Council.

The County currently has limited budgetary resources to dedicate to acquisitions. Most acquisitions are acquired under the auspices of the National Guidelines on Commissioning of Public Art (2004) which enable local authorities to purchase art directly. However, by encouraging gifts and loans, and by encouraging use of the tax regime (Section 1003) and advocating further changes to the tax system to encourage giving still more, there are long-term gains to be found.

 Definition of Art, Artworks or ‘Works of Art’ – are used to indicate:

Painting, Sculpture, Water-Colour, Drawing, Print, Ceramic Art, Fibre, or Textile Art, Photography, Glass Art, Documentation of Conceptual Art, New Media Art, Mixed Media Art, or Site Specific Installations, which have been purchased, donated or bequeathed to County.

Collection Policy

The principles of the policy are:

  • To acquire works of art that contributes extensively to the County’s current and future collection. To develop a collection of art that focuses on local and national artists and curators.
  • To develop a collection of works of art that represents contemporary art in the county, supporting contemporary living artists.
  • To acquire works of art ethically, legally and appropriately, in accordance with the Council’s policies.
  • To cooperate and work in partnership with our existing partners and seek to create new networks to deliver on the Council’s goals in a strategic and developmental way, ensuring best value for money.
  • To work with the Arts Council and seek to maximise shared resources and policy priorities
  • To collect only works of art that can be documented, stored, cared for, secured, insured and made accessible.
  • To collect works of art in an effective, efficient and professional manner, within the guidelines set by funding and management constraints.

When acquiring works of art, Clare County Council will recognise the moral rights of the artists. The County will ensure that copyright and moral and intellectual rights are respected in the documentation, display, interpretation and reproduction of all artworks in the collection. Copyright, and moral and intellectual rights, will be considered when completing donation agreements, or commissioning works.

Collection criteria

  • The following are taken into account when making selection:
  • The quality and content of work is essential to the process
  • Works must be of relevance to the county.
  • Works must balance or strengthen the collection’s coverage of a subject, or fill an identified gap.
  • Clear legal title and strong provenance are able to be established. There are no legal or ethical barriers to collecting the work.
  • There will be a bias against collecting works which have been damaged or modified, have deteriorated and require extensive conservation, or are incomplete.
  • There will be a bias against collecting works that have special storage or maintenance requirements, where the Council does not have the financial means or facilities to provide appropriate care.
  • The Council should have the ability to make the works of art easily accessible to the public including staff, researchers and the community.
  • The work must not duplicate material already held in the collection.
  • Collecting the work will not abrogate any memorandums of understanding with other institutions or organisations.

Donation criteria

Works offered for donation unconditionally will be accepted in preference to those offered conditionally. Where conditions are imposed, they will only be agreed to where they do not prevent the Council carrying out its mission and objectives for the art collection

Acquisition by Gift Works may be acquired by donation where they meet the collecting scope and criteria described above. Donations may be made unconditionally, or with certain agreed conditions attached, provided they are fully stated on Clare Art Collection Donation Form

Building the Collection.

The County Arts Officer is responsible for researching the Art Collection, supervising its direction and growth and overseeing the initiation, development and selection of new works. The Arts Officer will professionally manage in line with best contemporary practice and may engage curators / project managers/ advisors to assist with same.  Ultimate responsibility for the acquisition of the collection will be with Clare County Council.

The Arts Officer will, if resources allow, be responsible for an exhibition programme that draws upon the art collection to celebrate diverse practices, initiate partnerships with the external community and provide a focus for visual arts. The Art Collection will be promoted regionally, nationally and internationally as a significant cultural resource of the County.

The County Arts Office will professionally collect and manage its art collections not just for monetary value but also with regard to their historical and cultural relevance.

The County Arts Office will acquire works of art that contribute extensively to the County’s current and future collection.

Acquisition by Purchase

Commissions or purchases must be assessed against this documents priorities prior to purchase. Works purchased will be registered as part of the County Art’s Collection.

Acquisition by Donation

Acquisition may be acquired by donation where they meet the collecting scope and criteria described in the collection policies. Donations may be made unconditionally, or with certain agreed conditions attached, provided they are fully stated on the Clare Art Collection Donation Form. All donations must be assessed against this document by the Arts Officer prior to acceptance for the collection. The Arts Officer will liaise with the donor, assess the artworks, and register them as part of the collection. The Council reserves the right to decline works of art that may be offered. Art works unsuitable for the County’s collection will be returned to the donor, or may be directed to a more appropriate repository by agreement.