Covid-19: Museums and galleries could reopen in ‘coming weeks’, Minister says

Martin speaks on restrictions amid news 422 artworks to be added to national collection

The Irish Museum of Modern Art was one of the recipients under a  €1m Government fund. File photograph: George Munday/Design Pics/Perspectives/Getty

The Irish Museum of Modern Art was one of the recipients under a €1m Government fund. File photograph: George Munday/Design Pics/Perspectives/Getty

 

Museums and galleries could reopen in the “coming weeks”, Minister for Arts Catherine Martin has said.

Ms Martin said the reopening of the arts will be one of the issues considered when the Government meets next week to discuss the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

She also suggested that a wider reopening of the arts will happen “if positive trends continue”.

This could allow for small outdoor performances later in the summer.

The Government is already considering opening up hairdressing, retail, adult non-contact sport, and religious services as the situation with Covid-19 continues to improve.

Decisions will be made closer to June on allowing the reopening of hotels and guest houses.

Ms Martin was speaking at the online announcement that 422 artworks by 70 artists will be added to the national collection as a result of the €1 million fund from Government provided to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and the Crawford Art Gallery in October 2020.

Spanning from 1972 to 2021, the works consist of paintings, photographic work, drawings, sculpture, installations, moving image, sound work, film, digital work, embroidery and performance.

The Minister said: “We are all aware of how difficult a time this has been for everybody in the artistic community. I am delighted to provide funding so that they [galleries] can support living artists by the purchase of their work. I am confident that our national cultural institutions will do justice to these artists in how they represent their work.

“This has also been a challenging year for all our institutions, but it has also offered an opportunity to think about museums and what they mean to people and how we share those precious artworks that form part of our national collections.”

Mary McCarthy, director of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, said it had been “an extraordinary moment . . . a huge injection of belief, energy and support” on hearing the gallery was to receive €400,000 to spend on contemporary art under the €1 million fund.

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