During a few days annual leave, I had the chance to see Lux in Arcana, a series of documents taken from the Vatican Secret Archives. Amongst the many incredible documents, two stood out … One from Bernini looking for payment for marble for two angels, the second from Michelangelo who was in financial and security trouble with a commission that was suddenly stopped with the death of his commissioner.
“In 1547, when pope Paul III appointed Michelangelo superintendent of the Fabbrica (the construction) of St. Peter’s, replacing Antonio da Sangallo, the artist could surely not have imagined that he would soon be bereft of his powerful patron and protector. The Farnese pope died on November 10, 1549. Twelve days later, pending the election of a new pope, the committee responsible for overseeing the Fabbrica issued a decree whereby the work at St. Peter’s was to be halted, and the construction site and materials were to be confiscated and locked up.
This obviously implied halting the payment of wages due to all the craftsmen, carpenters and masons who were working on the project. Michelangelo, suddenly finding himself in very straitened circumstances, and also worried about the fate of his collaborators, was forced to seek help from his patrons and friends. One of the people he turned to was Cristoforo Spiriti, bishop of Cesena and future patriarch of Jerusalem.
In a short letter, Michelangelo told Spiriti that his workers had stayed at the Fabbrica “to guard it and defend the construction materials and other things like soldiers, at the peril of their lives,” but since he could not pay them himself, he feared the situation might lead to “damage amounting to thousands of scudi” and would probably cause a “scandal.”
A solution was found after Julius III was elected to the papal throne, on February 7, 1550. On March 13th, the head of the Fabbrica ordered the keys to the site to be returned to Michelangelo, and so they were.”
I was struck by how nothing much changes, if only he had VAI to call on…
On Tuesday 8th November, the second of a series of VAI clinics to learn more about the needs of artists in the North was held at the ADF on Royal Avenue in Belfast.
Chaired by Laura Graham, issues raised by attendees ranged from a discussion on the present call for comment by DCAL to hear from arts organisations, and presumably individual artists, on their feelings about support for creative industries, to more personal issues to do with accessibility and the lack of understanding of authorities in general to the status of being an artist, whether disabled or otherwise. We also questioned whether the call for comment from DCAL had been sent solely to arts organisations, in which case individual artists should make their voices and concerns heard urgently otherwise the more PR orientated creative industries opinions may hold sway.
The question did arise however, are artists comfortable with being termed as an ‘industry’? Is this the reason that artists are not shouting from the rooftops about what they would like to see change in funding structures? If we don’t enter the debate however, our voices can’t be taken into consideration.
With the opportunity of looking a bit more closely at accessibility issues for artists, prompted by our location, it is apparent that such issues are still keenly felt with a sense of exclusion in this increasingly bureaucratic world. This can range from difficulty in getting through the reams of documentation needed for many applications, benefits, insurance, work schemes, residencies etc, knowledge of the internet and comfort with the on line world to difficult physical issues. It is possible to obtain assistance in these areas and if anyone is in any doubt about their status, or possible funding opportunities, please contact ADF http://www.adf.ie/
It was an interesting and thought provoking discussion and I would like to thank Leo Devlin for organising the event, Chris Ledger CEO for her involvement and the staff of ADF for their support in making this clinic possible.
Visual Artists Ireland / Northern Contact Point
The Arts & Disability Forum hosts
Visual Arts Clinic with Visual Artists Ireland
Tuesday 8 November (14:30-16.00)
Laura Graham, one of two VAI representatives in Northern Ireland, will chair a clinic at the Arts and Disability Forum in Belfast to support and hear from visual artists in the region. VAI will be placing greater focus on Northern Ireland in coming months and wants to hear what you have to say. Increasing constraints and difficulties as a result of this depleted economic climate make the present moment important to come together and discuss difficulties.
This is the second of a regular program of clinics across the North which will allow VAI to survey and better address the issues affecting the wide spectrum of artistic practice.
The ADF aims to be fully accessible – BSL etc available – confirm access requests by 4 November please contact: email@example.com
T: from UK (028) 9023 9450
T: from RoI (048) 9023 9450
The September/October Visual Artists News Sheet is currently on its way to Dublin Contemporary Bookshop. Containing a pull out section for Dublin Contemporary, a new pull out Critique/Review section on exhbitions currently happening around Ireland, and a special feature section on the Visual Arts in Dublin, as well as all the usual news, opportunities and commentary about the visual arts in Ireland, the VAN will be available from all the usual places within the next few days.
As always, Visual Artists Ireland members can expect their’s to be delivered to their door within the next couple of days.
Making it easy for people to find your organisation is critical in terms of developing your audience. For this reason, and in preparation for the launch a new service at the end of this year, it is now possible to enter the Google co-ordinates for your organisation on our listing service.
This service is for Visual Artists Ireland member organisations. To add your site simple enter your details here After entering your details, our staff will check that you are a member. If not, they will make contact with you to guide you through the membership options.
For people sending listings, if you send your Google co-ordinates, we will endeavour to include them with the listing of your exhibitions.
To find your Google co-ordinates:
- Open the Google Maps website
- Enter the address details in the search box
- Zoom In the Google Maps and locate the place for which you need the latitude and longitude.
- Right click that exact location on Google Maps and select “Center Map Here”
- Click the “Link to this Page” hyperlink
- Copy paste the URL into the field on the form.
The Google maps link for the Glucksman Gallery in Cork is:
As part of our on-going policy supporting the development of art criticism, Visual Artists Ireland has created a space where people who are active in the delivery of art criticism blogs and websites can advertise their site to visitors to Ireland’s most comprehensive visual arts resource.
This service is for Visual Artists Ireland members. If you are not a professional visual artist, there are other levels of membership that will allow you to avail of this service, and be eligible for other benefits. If in doubt, call us and we can make sure that you are guided to the right category.
To add your site simple enter your details here
After entering your details, our staff will check that you are a member. If not, they will make contact with you to guide you through the membership options.
Some simple statistics – 2011
|Number of registered artists||3,800+|
|Number of paid members||1,500+|
|Number of eBulletin Subscribers||9,500+|
|Number of Visual Artists’ News Sheet recipients||6,000+|
|Value of opportunities for visual artists advertised||€3,700,000+|
|Number of Readers of Printed Project online||7,071|
|Number of unique visitors to visualartists.ie||700,000+|
|Number of members of The Common Room||1,577|
*** Please note that VAI’s website is changing at the moment and although this section is live, we are still in the middle of processing the content of our practical listings for artists to this area ***
On Thursday we will have our decisive meeting with ArtQuest about future collaborations and partnerships. “Artquest provides critical engagement and practical support to London’s visual artists and craftspeople, working with practitioners in London throughout their careers.”
Following detailed discussions about partnering, VAI and Artquest are now investigating how to take the wealth of information contained within both organisations to create a cross pollinated information source, supported by a professional development programme that can provide artists with the skills and confidence that they need to survive in the present economic climate. This project is part of VAI’s 2011 programme which is addressing the widening of support structures so that professional visual artists will feel less isolated.
More about the project later. Check our twitter account for updates on the meeting.
Packing bag to hit the road later today up to Derry for this important seminar, led by Arts Council Public Affairs Officer, Fiona MacMillan. The seminar will look at the new Assembly elected last month. What will be in the Programme for Government and where will the arts fit in? What are the priorities of the new Minister and the CAL Committee? How can we keep the arts on the political agenda?
Check our twitter account for live updates from the event.
This afternoon, as part of Solstice’s http://www.solsticecork.com four day event on the third floor of the former FÁS building on Sullivan’s Quay in Cork, VAI participated in a open forum discussion concerning artists initiatives and their impact on unused city buildings, as well as looking to what effect this model has on urban living and artists supports. Susan Holland of Visual in Carlow, Anthony Kelly of the Basement Studios in Cork, and Noel Kelly CEO of Visual Artists Ireland were deftly brought through the subject by Solstice team member Ruairi Donovan. A gathered and engaged group provided lively interaction about a subject that has resonance across Ireland. VAI’s participation was part of our national programme of engagement with artists in their local area concerning participation, support, and the creation of both formal and informal networks supported by Visual Artists Ireland.
VAI on the Galley
The first VAI clinic hosted by Damien Duffy and Laura Graham, our friends in the North, was held on Saturday 4th June on the Galley. The new restaurant venture by curatorial team Brown &Bri has been described as ‘an ambitious project in shifting a city centre’, and for those who managed to make that shift on Saturday for themselves, there was a chance to see and taste the affordable and ethically sourced food and drink, whilst chatting about concerns in the visual art world.
During the course of the afternoon, topics ranged from how to link into networks, particularly where alternative career pathways have been followed where the benefit of support networks formed through art college are missing, to developing business models encouraging, supporting and benefiting art practice and, why do job centres recognise and offer specialised support for unemployed musicians, but fail to understand the particular needs and difficulties of visual artists, let alone develop specific programmes for them?
We hope to explore these and other questions over the next few months, and start to get answers for our members. But we would like to hear from you and meet you. Our next clinic will be in the North West and will be notified to members and non -members through various social networks nearer the time. On this occasion both Damien and Laura would like to thank Brown & Bri for their hospitality.
The Galley is a lovely venue. Bright and airy with great food and, on Saturday, the views were spectacular, after all where else in Belfast could you stand just above the waters of the Lagan and enjoy a drink, and for some, a smoke!
VAI Northern Contact Points