The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has collected art since 1943 and in 2012–2013 the Council gifted its Collection dating from 1943 to 1999 to a range of museums in Northern Ireland. The Arts Council continues to collect contemporary art with the aim of recognising and promoting the work of local artists, as well as providing a range of opportunities for the public to view these works.
The Collection now holds over 650 works and represents the practices of artists at different stages in their careers from emerging to established, and covers a wide range of disciplines including painting, sculpture, craft, print, photography and video. The artworks reflect artistic practice that is innovative and challenging, and that contribute to the development of visual arts practice in Northern Ireland.
The pieces are by artists from Northern Ireland or by artists living and working in Northern Ireland.
The Arts Council does not have a gallery space of its own, but runs an Art Lending Scheme to give the works a wider audience through exhibitions and loans both within and outside Northern Ireland.
Recent works purchased by the Arts Council can be viewed at: