The Arts Council of Ireland will once again provide funding for the annual Claremorris Open Exhibition. This means that the exhibition, now in its 35th year and one of the top events on the Irish visual arts calendar, will be able to take place this September.
However the organisers of the event have expressed both shock and dismay at the severe cut in the amount of money allocated by the Arts Council for this year's event.
Speaking about the grant allocation for COE 2012, chairman of the Claremorris Arts Committee, Johnny Kirrane, expressed his disappointment at the amount being provided and pointed out that beyond 2012 the very existence of the exhibition is in jeopardy.
“While we welcome the fact that the Arts Council has consistently endorsed COE and has once again seen fit to provide funding for the event, the sudden nature of the severe cut will have a real impact on this year's exhibition. Fortunately with the support of our patrons and sponsors and the dedication of a committed and resourceful organising committee, coupled with the support provided by Mayo County Council and the reduced Arts Council grant, we expect to be in a position to host a very worthwhile exhibition in September.”
For 35 years COE has consistently brought the very best in cutting edge contemporary art to the west of Ireland and has raised the profile of a huge number of artists. Indeed many of the big names in contemporary Irish art have made their breakthrough at COE and have returned on numerous occasions to showcase their work. The exhibition has also showcased the work of a great number of artists who might otherwise find it difficult to get their work displayed in the country's more commercial venues.
The selection process for this year’s event is under way and COE 2012 will take place in September. Organisers hope that this year's exhibition will be as diverse and as exciting as always and that COE will continue to bring the very best in contemporary art to the west of Ireland.