Visual Artists Ireland is the all Ireland development and resource body for professional visual artists. It provides services, facilities and resources for artists, operates an artistic programme and acts as an advocate for the interests of artists.
- PROVIDE services, facilities and resources to individual artists and the visual arts sector
- SUPPORT the activity of professional contemporary visual art practice
- REPRESENT and act as an advocate for individual artists, the visual arts sector and the arts in general
The VAI programme is divided into 3 distinct programme strands:
- Services, Facilities and Resources;
- Artistic Programmes;
- Advocacy, Lobbying and Representation.
A brief overview of the 3 programme strands is provided here.
- Services Facilities and Resources – these activities are designed to be timely, useful, practical and relevant to artists. They are designed so as not to replicate other services. They are easy to use, easy to access and simple to administrate.
- Artistic Programmes – These are designed so as to keep the organisation imbedded in the arts sector and engaged with the very individuals that we represent. The programmes allow us to make new contacts, develop new networks, and give us credibility and presence within the sector. They also allow us to help in the delivery of projects that might not otherwise take place.
- Advocacy Lobbying and Representation -This programme is designed to give a collective voice to the individual artist. It is recognised generally that artists face particular difficulties in relation to living and working conditions as a result of their working practices and their status as self-employed individuals. The programme aims to redress this balance, to be proactive, to accumulate artists concerns for representation within relevant forums.
Services, Facilities and Resources
- Visual Artists News Sheet – the industry standard magazine for visual artists;
- e-Bulletin – twice weekly emails of news, opportunities and listings;
- Opportunities – including information on commissions, residencies, exhibition calls, studio spaces etc;
- info~pool – a comprehensive on line information resource;
- Help-desk – offering advice, information and support on professional issue;
- Training – a national programme of professional development training workshops;
- Discount Scheme –material suppliers and service providers;
- Equipment/Facilities – affordable access to video editing, cameras, computers and other equipment.
VAI operates a number of artistic programmes. These include established projects such as:
- Printed Project;
- Exercises in New Media;
- Exercises in the Moving Image.
Visual Artists Ireland also has a policy of working with artists and artist run organisations on the development and delivery of collaborative projects. VAI also undertakes different strands of support mechanisms dealing with specific art disciplines & practices. These are aimed at providing on-going career development within these subjects, dealing with the specifics of skills and production.
Advocacy and Representation
Visual Artists Ireland operates a programme of advocacy, lobbying and representation.
The organisation takes on the key issues that concern professional artists generally in relation to their status, rights and income. It monitors policies and undertakes research into issues that affect artist. It also represents the interests of individual artists on a case-by-case basis in relation to specific, one-off issues.
It operates a programme of regional and international representation through appointed artist representatives and has a policy of building strategic partnerships with other organisations so as to better represent the interests of individual visual artists.
VAI works closely with:
- The Arts Council of Ireland;
- The Arts Council Northern Ireland;
and is an active member of:
- Culture Action Europe (CAE);
- The European Cultural Foundation (ECF);
- The International Association of Art (IAA);
- The International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA).
VAI also enters into dialogue with IKT (International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art), and The International Association of Art Critics (AICA), as well as other national and international representative bodies in the interests of hybrid collaborations that further increase awareness of the varied needs and purposes of artists.
Unique and Distinct Attributes
Visual Artists Ireland is unique and distinct. What is perhaps most unique and distinct about VAI is the very fact that:
it operates this combination of programmes;
it acts as service and resource organization; and acts as a representative and advocate as well as operating an artistic programme.
In terms of our Services, Facilities and Resources our Discount Scheme, Help-Desk and info~pool are unique within the sector. Given the scale, quality and relevance to the sector of our Visual Artists News Sheet and e-bulletin these too could also be considered as unique.
Printed Project by its very nature is a unique type of publication, not only within Ireland but also within an international context. The other arts programmes in which we participate could not really be considered as unique, however, the way in which we engage in these projects is distinctly different to most other organisations.
Our position as an advocate and representative within the visual arts sector is unique. There is no other such organisation. We are the only membership organisation in the sector with criteria which defines ‘professional’ membership. This provides us with a unique mandate to represent the interests of practicing artists in the sector. Our Regional and International Representative Programmes are unique amongst representative organisations generally in Ireland, especially, when combined with focus on the creative, professional, practicing individual artist.