EPISODE 17: SLIGO: Can improved access to art make a better society?

In a week that brought us the news that the Shaw was closing to make way for, you guessed it, a hotel, we start to look at what can be done to encourage more value to be placed on art and culture from the those who have the power and money to shape our society.

Increasing and improving access to art is one step we think that can be taken to help people understand the weight, importance and benefits that come from having a thriving creative scene in Ireland. But another issue thrown up when you start exploring access to art, is people’s perceptions of what constitutes culture. Comments from some councillors showed that what many considered the centre of their cultural universe with the Shaw, was considered nothing more than a nuisance and eyesore. How can we support people pushing the boundaries not just with their art, but those pushing the boundaries of what art is. And who gets to be the gate-keeper of where art and culture starts and ends?

We talk to two people whose remit is to improve access to art in Ireland. Sinead Rice is Head of Education in the National Gallery and Emer McGarry is the interim Director at The Model in Sligo. We also have Patrick Curley who runs Illuminations in Sligo as our county rep.