Dunamaise Arts Centre is currently hosting a range of different art done by the Irish Prison Service.
The IPS Art Exhibitions of creative works by students in custody and in some post-release centres provides an opportunity to showcase the diversity and quality of works produced.
They highlight the important role of art education as part of a broadly-based prison education provided in all prisons.
It is recognised that for most of the artists, this will be the first time that their work will have been displayed in a public venue and for some, this will be a first step towards continued engagement in the creative arts.
The Irish Prison Service co-funds the Artists in Prison Scheme with the Arts Council and some of the works displayed were created during the workshops facilitated by professional Artists on the Arts Council Artist in Prison panel.
The exhibition of works provides an additional element to the Artist in Prison Scheme.
The Open Minds Exhibition was professionally curated by Brian Maguire, a renowned artist in his own right, former Senior Lecturer in the National College of Art and Design and a former prison art teacher.
This model of selection and curation follows the model used for the UK Koestler exhibition of Prison Art.
The exhibitions in Rua Red and the Hunt Museum were accompanied by community education events which attracted students and members of the public to ‘engage’ with the exhibitions.
The UNLOCK exhibitions curated by Tom Shortt, Art Development Officer in the Irish Prison Service, represent the past, present and future of arts and crafts in prisons.
The organisation and hosting of the arts exhibitions requires significant planning and input from a range of stakeholders – Education & Training Board (ETB) teachers working in prisons (Arts and Crafts teachers in particular), by the Arts Development Officer (Tom Shortt) and by the IPS (prisons and HQ staff) relating to framing, transport, hosting arrangements, launch event, media, publications, etc.
It was launched recently and photographer Denis Byrne was on hand to capture the action: