Northern Ireland Civil Service Art Collection
The Northern Ireland Civil Service Art Collection came into being in 1963 when the then Prime Minister, Captain Terence O’Neill, proposed works of art to brighten up government offices.
The purpose of the collection is to decorate government offices and public access areas of Northern Ireland government buildings. The collection now has about 1,700 works, valued in 2020 at over £2.5million. At any one time over 1,000 pieces are on loan, mostly in the Civil Service office estate.
Since 1997, the Department of Finance has worked in co-operation with the Office of Public Works in the Republic of Ireland in exhibiting art works from public buildings managed by both Departments. These exhibitions have comprised artworks taken from the two collections based on particular themes each year, such as paper works and emerging art. The exhibitions provide an opportunity for the wider public to view art works, which normally decorate public buildings. Over the years, they have toured extensively throughout Ireland.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the annual joint art exhibition called All Creatures Great and Small is not currently able to tour so instead the artwork can be viewed online
The theme of the exhibition this year is the natural world showing insects, birds, animals and sea creatures. Artworks displayed are a variety of artistic media in the form of paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures with each Artist bringing their own individual approach to the depiction of living creatures.
Be it painting, making music, dance, literature or any of the wide range of activities available in Northern Ireland – taking part in the arts can be relaxing, exciting and rewarding.
There are a number of ways to get involved in arts and culture. There will be an arts officer in your local council or you can contact The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Find out more about the performing arts and people with disabilities.
Discover what music, art, sport and food events are on: