The Arts Council seems to be in a whole mess of trouble. 52 works, worth £28,000 bought with tax payers money now are nowhere to be found, indeed many others have long since been written off. Negligence seems to be the main import of an Audit Commission report: “In our opinion, the write-offs are indicative of the poor record-keeping and management of the collection.”

  • Pete Baker

    In addition, Mick – from the PA report

    “We [The Audit Office] are concerned that some six years after a major review of the collection, four years since the appointment of a curator and three years since the department asked for the identification, reconciliation and valuation of the works, the council is still not in a position to know whether there are further losses and write-offs.”

    And, the other concern about the Arts Council

    “It [The Audit Office] expressed concern about patronage after discovering that approximately one in seven works of art – 47 in all – acquired through PPS were by artists employed by the council, two of whom held senior posts.

    Further investigation revealed that 53 works in the council`s main collection had also been produced by council employees.”

    I haven’t seen the detail of the report.. does it reveal how much was paid for those works of art?

  • Pete Baker
  • fair_deal

    Its actually 300 write offs, the 52 are just the latest. Plus the mismanagement of a purchase scheme and the allegations of favouritism in buying staff members art works was deeply concerning too. I take it, as usual, no heads have rolled over this mess?

  • T.Ruth

    Could we have an amnesty declared so that those now in possession of these art works could be encouraged to return them to public ownership?
    An Arts Council web site could be established with descriptions of the missing works that have been copied as prints or photographs or perhaps a bounty hunter could be employed to search out the missing paintings along with a sliding scale reward system. Those works still in AC possession could be made available for general viewing on the web.One wonders exactly how many items have disappeared and what their present value might really be.There seems to be a vagueness in the reportage and its difficult to establish the facts.Is it a lot more than 350? Have there been previous write offs?. Fifty two works at 28.000 pounds!Its hard to see a painting in a gallery at 550 quid these days.Will anyone fall on a sword-will heads roll?

  • Martin

    Ian Hill and others have been questioning the administrative and critical standards of the Arts Council for years – the incestuous nature of the small arts ‘community’ here makes a degree of nepotism/favouritism the path of least resistance for arts administrators.

    The ACNI acquisitions policy is online here. Interestingly, the NIAO report hasn’t been uploaded to the ACNI site yet.

    Also, T.Ruth, the collection is viewable online, tho’ it’s not easy to find on the site. Look here.

    Fingers crossed the links work!

  • Dualta

    That’ll mean 52 walls in Holywood and its environs will be looking pretty snazzy.

  • Donnie

    I take it in usual NI public body fashion all jobs are still intact as no-one was to blame? Again! Pathetic!

  • T.Ruth

    I just spent an enjoyable half hour going through the catalogue. Thanks for providing the link.I enjoyed especially the works by John Luke and Dan O’Neill.

  • rapunsel

    Come on — so some old rubbish produced by Arts Council employees is missing. They’re doing us a favour by quietly losing works that may have been a bad investment!! But seriously I listened to a piece on Arts Extra on Radio Ulster this evening. Can’t remember the guys name seemed to know a lot about this sort of stuff. he pointed out that

    1. The Arts Council was never established as a museum
    2. That curating many works of Art where there is no permanent exhibition space is a labor intensive and costly basis that presumably the Arts Council or DCAL weren’t resourcing properly.

    That being the case it’s hardly surprising that things are missing. Heads rolling is hardly going to achieve anything really what we need is DCAL and the Arts Council being prepared to address the problems and for adequate resources to be made available to do so.

    It’s a pity that many of these works aren’t available for the public to see in an appropriate space.

  • john macgrain